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Unknown or little-known large ground beetles from the United Arab Emirates (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Scaritinae, Harpalinae, Platyninae).

In a recent paper, Felix (2009) illustrated and recorded the occurrence of 70 species of ground beetles (family Carabidae) in the United Arab Emirates, UAE. As the author states, this list is necessarily incomplete, not only because the specimens were mainly collected by light, malaise or water traps, but also because much of the collecting took place in the northern emirates rather than in the larger expanses of Abu Dhabi. There are certainly several tiger beetles (subfamily Cicindelinae) in the UAE that are not included in Felix's work (Weisner, 1993; Gillett, 1995; Weisner, 1996; Weisner, 1998; Cassola et al., 2010). Also missing are three large species of ground beetles that have previously either not been recorded from the UAE or, at least, are but poorly known for the country. These three beetles form the basis of the present note; they belong to three different subfamilies (Lorenz, 2005), two of which are not mentioned in Felix (2009).

Scarites (Scallophorites) guineensis Dejean, 1831 (Subfamily Scaritinae)(Figure 1)

Scarites guineensis Dejean, 1831

Scarites asphaltinus Klug, 1832

Scarites nitidus Chaudoir, 1843

Scarites boysi Chaudoir, 1855

Scarites rocheti Chaudoir, 1855

Scarites striatus guineensis Banniger, 1938

Material: UAE: 2 ex. Dubai, Jebel Ali, 10m, IV. 1993, Running on beach at night, J.E.D.T. Gillett; 1 ex. Abu Dhabi, near Sweihan, IV.1997, under board, M.P.T.Gillett. Geographical range: Senegal to Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Arabia




This is a much larger species than the two mentioned by Felix (2009), S. (Parallelomorphus) subcylindricus Chaudoir, 1843 and S. (P.) terricola aethiopicus Banninger, 1933, and it belongs to a different subgenus. In the UAE, the species is typically found in tunnels or under debris on sandy beaches; it is sometimes present in numbers at the Jebel Ali locality. However, it also occurs inland in the UAE and it has been recorded elsewhere at altitudes up to 2000 m. Overall, it appears to be relatively rare or at least very local in the UAE, at least in comparison with the two smaller species. However, across its large range, S. guineensis has been described as common (Balkenohl, 1994). Nevertheless, only a single specimen from Saudi Arabia was available for his examination and only very few Saudi examples were studied earlier by Basilewsky (1979). Although not indicated above, S. guineensis along with about 50 other Scarites spp., was also recorded by Andrewes (1929) from several localities in 'British India', but some of these records for guineensis are doubtful, especially those from Assam and Poona. This species has been previously recorded from the Abu Dhabi desert by Tigar and Osborne (1999) and without specific details by Gillett and Gillett (2005).

Heteracantha depressa Brulle, 1834 (Subfamily Harpalinae)(Figure 2)

Heteracantha depressa Brulle, 1834

Material: UAE: 6 ex. Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Al Masoudi, 03.III.1995, running in woodland at dusk, M.P.T. Gillett; 2 ex. Dubai, al Lisaili, IV.1998, at lights in service station, M.P.T. Gillett; 1 ex. Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Tahnoon Farm, Sweihan, 17.V. 2003, light trap, M.P.T. Gillett and B. Howarth. Geographical range: North Africa, Morocco to Egypt, Israel, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

This is a typical ground beetle of desert areas in N. Africa and Arabia. It is spring-active and spends the daytime hidden below ground to emerge at dusk and actively seek its prey such as grasshoppers and other invertebrates. Although far smaller than Anthia duodecimguttata Bonelli, 1831 or Scarites guineensis, this species unlike these others, will bite viciously if molested. H. depressa has previously recorded from the UAE, but without details (Gillett and Gillett, 2005).

Sphodrus leucophthalmus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Subfamily Platyninae)(Figure 3)

Carabus leucophthalmus Linnaeus, 1758

Carabus spiniger Paykull, 1790

Carabus obsoletus P. Rossi, 1790

Carabus planus Fabricius, 1792

Sphodrus armeniacus Oseulati, 1844

Sphodrus indus Chaudoir, 1852

Sphodrus siculus Motschulsky, 1865

Material: UAE: Abu Dhabi: 1 ex. Ain al Faydah 05.XI.1993, pitfall trap in saline soil, M.P.T.Gillett; 1 ex. Near Mirfa, 29.XII.1998, M.P.T. Gillett; 1 ex. Al Ain, Towayya, 19.V.2000 pitfall trap, M.P.T.Gillett Geographical range: Virtually all of Europe except extreme north, Canary Islands, Morocco to Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Caucasus, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and India (Uttar Pradesh)

This is a very interesting species with a predominantly Mediterranean distribution and its occurrence in northern Europe, including the British Isles, is considered to have resulted from accidental introductions. Under these circumstances, the beetle is only found indoors in dark and damp situations such as cellars, bake-houses and the like, where it has been recorded as preying on Blaps sp. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), but in recent times, it has become extinct or very scarce right across this northern range (Luff, 1998). In its natural range, including the UAE, the beetle is found outdoors and because it is fully winged, it is capable of effective dispersal. Within this natural range, tenebrionid beetles are a major component of the soil fauna and are almost certainly a main prey for S. leucophthalmus. Two of the UAE records are from sabkha-like soils, where Prochoma bucculenta C. Koch, 1940 is a dominant tenebrionid and a possible prey. The single record of S. leucophthalmus from Libya is also from sabkha (Le-Quellec and Ringenbach, 2009), suggesting that this is a preferred habitat across the natural range. The beetle has also been recorded from saltpans in the Mediterranean region, but it also occurs on agricultural land in Iran (Ghahari et al., 2009). Besides the above records, a further specimen probably representing this species was seen, but not captured, at an electric light on Marawah Island, Abu Dhabi during 27-29.XII.1998. S. leucophthalmus belongs to the tribe Sphodrini within the Platyninae and it is relevant to note that two other species from this tribe, both endemic to Arabia, could also occur in the UAE; these are Sphodrus trochanteribus Mateu, 1990 and Laemostenus (Arabosphodrus) balkenohliSciaky, 1996; the latter from Jebel Akhdar in N. Oman (Sciaky, 1996). S. leucophthalmus is a new record for the UAE.

The three large species of carabid ground beetles recorded here for the UAE represent an increase in the total number of species known for the country (Felix, 2009). There are several other carabid species that have been collected in the UAE that are awaiting proper determination before they can be formally recorded. All three beetles dealt with here are already known from Saudi Arabia. They are also likely to be present in other neighbouring countries. However, they are apparently not yet known for the Sultanate of Oman (Janikova, undated).


Andrewes, H. E. (1924). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Coleoptera, Carabidae, Vol. 1, Carabinae. 431 pp. Taylor and Francis, London.

Balkenohl, M. (1994). The subfamily Scaritinae Bonelli, 1809 (Coleoptera: Carabidae) from Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 14: 59-70.

Basilewsky, P. (1979). Insects of Saudi Arabia Coleoptera: fam: Carabidae. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 1 : 141-146.

Cassola, F., Howarth, B., Gardner, A. S. and Feulner, G. (2010). Callytron monalisa (W. Horn, 1927) from the Arabian peninsula (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae). Fauna of Arabia, in press.

Felix, R. F. F. L. (2009). Order Coleoptera, family Carabidae. Arthropod fauna of the UAE 2: 66-141.

Gillett, M. P. T. (1995) An annotated and illustrated checklist of Tiger Beetles recorded from the Al Ain/Buraimi region of Eastern Arabia (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae). Tribulus 5.2: 13-16.

Gillett, M. P. T. and Gillett, C. P. D. T .(2005) Insects and other arthropods. pp 168-194 in Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (eds.) The Emirates. A Natural History, Trident Press, London

Ghahari, H., Kesdek, M., Samin, N., Ostovan, H., Hayaskary, M. and Imani, S. (2009). Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) of Iranian cotton fields and surrounding grasslands. Munis Entomology and Zoology 4: 436-450.

Janikova, M. (no date). Coleoptera. Beetles Checklist. 39 pp. Sultanate of Oman, Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Natural History Museum, Muscat.

Le-Quellec, J-L. and Ringenbach, J-C (2009). Beetles & Rock Art in Libya. version 30-11-2009.

Lorenz, W. (2005). Systematic List of Extant Ground Beetles of the World (Insecta Coleoptera "Geadephaga": Trachypachidae and Carabidae incl. Paussinae, Cicindelinae, Rhysodinae. 530 pp. Second Edition, Tutzing (published by the author).

Luff, M. L. (1998). Provisional Atlas of the Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) ofBritain. p. 98. Biological Records Centre, Monks Wood.

Sciaky, R. (1996). Laemostenus (Arabosphodrus) balkenohli, a new carabid genus and new species from Oman (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Sphodrini). Fauna of Saudi Arabia 15: 206-210.

Tigar, B. J. and Osborne, P. E. (1999). The influence of the lunar cycle on ground-dwelling invertebrates in an Arabian desert. Journal of Arid Environments 43: 171-182.

Weisner, J. (1993). Uber die Cicindelidae (Coleoptera) der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate (30. Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Cicindelidae). Entomologische Zeitschrift 103: 249-253.

Weisner, J. (1996). Weitere Mitteilungen uber die Cicindelidae (Coleoptera) der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate (41. Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Cicindelidae). Entomologische Zeitschrift 106: 382-384.

Weisner, J. (1998). Faunistik der Sandlaufkafer der Arabischen Emirate (Carabidae: Cicindelidae)(53. Kenntnis der Cicindelidae). Entomologische Zeitschrift 108: 466-472.

M. P. T. Gillett

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Author:Gillett, Michael P.T.
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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