Scarab Biodiversity Exploration

Biodiversity Exploration and Taxonomy

In our times of a biodiversity crisis, when abundance and species numbers decline worldwide, documenting the species we are sharing the planet with becomes an increasingly important and urgent task. The science of describing and naming new and reviewing already known species is called taxonomy. Our senior curator of entomology, Frank T. Krell, PhD, is a taxonomist and expert of the beetle group Scarabaeoidea, the scarab beetles in the widest sense, comprising June bugs, stag beetles, dung beetles, flower chafers, rhinoceros beetles, and the like. About 35,0000 species of scarabaeoid beetles have been described in the scientific literature, a few of them by Dr. Krell. But we can expect probably an equally high number still to be discovered, be it in Colorado or in the forests of the Amazon. Dr. Krell is actively engaged in species discovery and is currently preparing descriptions of new species of dung beetles from West and Southern Africa. Discovering a species nobody has ever seen or recognized before is one of the most exciting moments in the life of a taxonomist.


Ahrens, D., Ahyong, S.T., Ballerio, A., Barclay, M.V.L., Eberle, J., Espeland, E., Huber, B.A., Mengual, X., Pacheco, T.L., Peters, R.S., Rulik, B., Vaz-de-Mello, F., Wesener, T. & Krell, F.-T. 2021. Is it time to describe new species without diagnoses? - A comment on Sharkey et al. (2021). Zootaxa 5927: 151–159. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.5027.2.1

Krell, F.-T. 2021. Taxonomy and distribution of Orubesa in the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding areas (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea). Zoology in the Middle East 67 (4): 332–343. DOI:10.1080/09397140.2021.1957209

Moretto, P., Cosson, B., Krell, F.-T. & Aristophanous, M. 2019. Pollination of Amorphophallus barthlottii and A. abyssinicus subsp. akeassii (Araceae) by dung beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea). Catharsius 18: 19‒36.

Thomson, S.A., Pyle, R.L., Ahyong, S., Alonso-Zarazaga, M., Ammirati, J., Araya, J.F., Ascher, J.S., Audisio, T.L., Azevedo-Santos, V.M., Bailly, N., Baker, W.J., Balke, M., Barclay, M.V.L., Barrett, R.L., Benine, R.C., Bickerstaff, J.R.M., Bouchard, P., Bour, R., Bourgoin, T., Boyko, C.B., Breure, A.S.H., Brothers, D.J., Byng, J.W., Campbell, D., Ceríaco, L.M.P., Cernák, I.,Cerretti, P., Chang, C.-H., Cho, S., Copus, J.M., Costello, M.J., Cseh, A., Csuzdi C., Culham, A., D’Elía, G., d’Udekem d’Acoz, C., Daneliya, M.E., Dekker, R., Dickinson, E.C., Dickinson, T.A., van Dijk, P.P., Dijkstra, K.-D.B., Dima, B., Dmitriev, D.A., Duistermaat, L., Dumbacher, J.P., Eiserhardt, W.L., Ekrem, T., Evenhuis, N.L., Faille, A., Fernández-Triana, J.L., Fiesler, E., Fishbein, M., Fordham, B.G., Freitas, A.V.L., Friol, N.R., Fritz, U., Frøslev, T., Funk, V.A., Gaimari, S.D., Garbino, G.S.T., Garraffoni, A.R.S., Geml, J., Gill, A.C., Gray, A., Grazziotin, F.G., Greenslade, P., Gutiérrez, E.E., Harvey, M.S., Hazevoet, C.J., He, K., He, X., Helfer, S., Helgen, K.M., van Heteren, A.H., Hita Garcia, F., Holstein, N., Horváth, M.K., Hovenkamp, P.H., Hwang, W.S., Hyvönen, J., Islam, M.B., Iverson, J.B., Ivie. M.A., Jaafar, J., Jackson, M.D., Jayat, J.P., Johnson, N.F., Kaiser, K., Klitgård, B.B., Knapp, D.G., Kojima, J.-i., Kõljalg U., Kontschán, J., Krell, F.-T., Krisai-Greilhuber, I., Kullander, S., Latella, L., Lattke, J.E., Lencioni, V., Lewis, G.P., Lhano, M.G., Lujan, N.K., Luksenburg, J.A., Mariaux, J., Marinho-Filho, J., Marshall, C.J., Mate, J.F., McDonough, M.M., Michel, E., Miranda, V.F.O., Mitroiu, M.-D., Molinari, J., Monks, S., Moore, A.J., Moratelli, R., Murányi, D., Nakano, T., Nikolaeva, S., Noyes, J., Ohl, M., Oleas, N.H., Orrell, T., Páll-Gergely, B., Pape, T., Papp, V., Parenti, L.R., Patterson, D., Pavlinov, I.Ya., Pine, R.H., Poczai, P., Prado, J., Prathapan, D., Rabeler, R.K., Randall, J.E., Rheindt, F.E., Rhodin, A.G.J., Rodríguez, S.M., Rogers, D.C., Roque, F. de O., Rowe, K.C., Ruedas, L.A., Salazar-Bravo, J., Salvador, R.B., Sangster, G., Sarmiento, C.E., Schigel, D.S., Schmidt, S., Schueler, F.W., Segers, H., Snow, N., Souza-Dias, P.G.B., Stals, R., Stenroos, S., Stone, R.D., Sturm, C.F., Štys, P., Teta, P., Thomas, D.C., Timm, R.M., Tindall, B.J., Todd, J.A., Triebel, D., Valdecasas, A.G., Vizzini, A., Vorontsova, M.S., Vos, J.M. de, Wagner, P., Watling, L., Weakley, A., Welter-Schultes, F., Whitmore, D., Wilding, N., Will, K., Williams, J., Wilson, K., Winston, J.E., Wüster, W., Yanega, D., Yeates, D.K., Zaher, H., Zhang, G., Zhang, Z.-Q., Zhou, H.-Z. 2018. Taxonomy based on science is necessary for global conservation. PLOS Biology 16(3): e2005075 (12 pp.). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2005075

Krell, F.-T. 2018. Zu Verbreitung und Morphologie einiger Onthophagus-Arten der Schweiz (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Alpine Entomology 2: 59–75, 2 supplements. DOI: 10.3897/alpento.2.23345

Krell F.-T. & Marshall, S.A. 2017. New species described from photographs: Yes? No? Sometimes? A fierce debate and a new Declaration of the ICZN. Insect Systematics and Diversity 1 (1): 3–19. DOI: 10.1093/isd/ixx004

Krell, F.-T. & Král, D. 2017. Order Coleoptera, family Scarabaeidae. Subfamily Dynastinae. Arthropod Fauna of the UAE 6: 169–185.

Amorim, D.S., Santos, C.M.D., Krell, F.-T., Dubois, A., Nihei, S.S., Oliveira, O.M.P., Pont, A., Song, H., Verdade, V.K., Fachin, D.A., Klassa, B., Lamas, C.J.E., Oliveira, S.S., Carvalho, C.J.B. de, Mello-Patiu, C.A., Hajdu, E., Couri, M.S., Silva, V.C., Capellari, R.S., Falaschi, R.L., Feitosa, R.M., Prendini, L., Pombal Jr., J.P., Fernández, F., Rocha, R.M., Lattke, J.E., Caramaschi, U., Duarte, M., Marques, A.C., Reis, R.E., Kurina, O., Takiya, D.M., Tavares. M., Fernandes, D.S., Franco, F.L., Cuezzo, F., Paulson, D., Guénard, B., Schlick-Steiner, B.C., Arthofer, W., Steiner, F.M., Fisher, B.L., Johnson, R.A., Delsinne, T.D., Donoso, D.A., Mulieri, P.R., Patitucci, L.D., Carpenter, J.M., Herman, L. & Grimaldi, D. 2016. Timeless standards for species delimitation. Zootaxa 4137 (1): 121–128. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4137.1.94

Krell, F.-T., Klimeš, P., Rocha, L.A., Fikáček, M. & Miller, S.A. 2016. Preserve specimens for reproducibility. Nature 539 (7628): 168. DOI: 10.1038/539168b

Forshage, M. & Krell, F.-T. 2016. Two exotic dynastines collected in Sweden (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae). Entomologisk Tidskrift 137 (4): 147–149.

Krell, F.-T. & Breidenbaugh, M. 2016. The mango flower beetle, Protaetia fusca (Herbst), on Wake Island, Western Pacific Ocean (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Cetoniinae)—an accomplished island invasive. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 48: 9–13.

Krell, F.-T. & Theuerkauf, J. 2015. A new species of the endemic genus Hemicyrthus Reiche (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae) from New Caledonia, with a revised key. Zootaxa 4048 (2): 281–290. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4048.2.8

Miraldo, A., Krell, F.-T., Smalén, M., Angus, R.B. & Roslin, T. 2014. Making the cryptic visible - resolving the species complex of Aphodius fimetarius (Linnaeus, 1758) and Aphodius pedellus (de Geer, 1774) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) by three complementary methods. Systematic Entomology 39: 531-547. DOI: 10.1111/syen.12079

Krell, F.-T. & Wheeler, Q. 2014. Specimen collection: Plan for the future. Science 344 (6186): 815–816. DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6186.815

Albertoni, F.F., Krell, F.-T., Steiner, J. & Zillikens, A. 2014. Life history and description of larva and pupa of Platyphileurus felscheanus Ohaus 1910, a scarabaeid feeding on bromeliad tissues in Brazil, to be excluded from Phileurini (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Dynastinae). Zookeys 389: 49–76. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.389.6888

Krell, F.-T. 2013. Pleurophorus caesus new to New Mexico (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Aphodiinae). Entomological News 122 (5): 491–492. DOI: 10.3157/021.122.0512

Krell, F.-T. 2012. An old record of the Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, from Panama (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Rutelinae). Entomologist's Monthly Magazine 148 (3): 231–233.

Krell, F.-T. & Philips, T.K. 2010. Formicdubius Philips & Scholtz from South Africa, a junior synonym of Haroldius Boucomont, and a survey of the trichomes in the African species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Onthophagini). ZooKeys 34: 41–48. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.34.342

Rössner, E. & Krell, F.-T. 2009. Identität und taxonomischer Status von Amphimallon ochraceum (Knoch, 1801) und A. fallenii (Gyllenhal, 1817) sowie weiterer mit A. solstitiale (Linnaeus, 1758) verwandter Taxa (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae). Vernate 27.2008: 221-261.

Motala, S.M. & Krell, F.-T. 2007. A wider range than suspected: new locality for the endemic Mauritian dung beetle Nesosisyphus pygmaeus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Phelsuma 15: 63-64.


Frank-Thorsten Krell, PhD

Senior Curator of Entomology

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