This species was described from Sennaar on the Blue Nile in Sudan and shows a range in the savannas of the east and northeast of the Afrotropical region (Schoolmeesters 2011). Although not supported by exact localities, it has also been cited from arid Egypt, presumably from riverine vegetation along the Nile.
Habitat and Ecology
Collection records show that this large-bodied, day-flying, ball-rolling species has been recorded on a wide range of soil types, including black cotton clay, lateritic sandy clay loam, sandy loam, and loamy sand in grassland, shrub / woodland, open woodland, and even a clearing in forest; it has been recorded on cattle, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra donkey, camel and elephant dung (Australian CSIRO 1970-1986, unpublished records).
This species has been recorded extensively in Northern Acacia-Commiphora bushlands and thickets (AT0711), the Serengeti volcanic grasslands (AT0714), and savanna of the Northern Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal forest mosaic (AT0125) in Kenya and Tanzania, with older records from arid regions in the coastal Hobyo grasslands and shrublands (AT1307) in Somalia and the 19th century type locality on the Blue Nile in eastern Sudan in Sahelian Acacia savanna (AT0713) (ecoregions according to Olson et al. 2001).
Old records for Ethiopia and Eritrea were untraceable with any accuracy. Some environmental characteristics for 45 locality records are as follows: altitude: mean: 875 ± 450 (S.D.), range: 0-1,740 m; annual rainfall: mean, 660 ± 221 (S.D.), range: 351-1,421 mm; annual temperature: mean, 23.5 ± 2.5 (S.D.), range: 18.3-28.6oC (max. + min. / 2).
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Scarabaeus (Kheper) aegyptiorum has been assessed as Least Concern. The species has a relatively large extent of occurrence of nearly 1 million km2, occurs in many game reserves and in a variety of habitats and dung types. While additional surveys are recommended to establish the true range of this species, it is not thought to be under any threat at present.
There are no quantitative population data available for this species.
Although this species has been widely recorded in Kenya during a survey in the 1970s, many of these records were from game reserves. Furthermore, records from cattle dung in farmland suggest that, at present, it does not face serious threats over most of its range.
There are no species-specific conservation actions in place for this species. It has been widely recorded in Kenyan game reserves during the 1970s, so may benefit from a measure of protection in various conserved areas in East Africa, including Amboseli, Meru, Marsabit and Tsavo in Kenya, as well as Manyara and Ngorongoro in Tanzania. In order to provide a more accurate assessment of the range of this species, further survey work needs to be conducted in Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Nile Valley into Egypt. Quantitative work on its soil, vegetation and dung type associations may also prove useful.
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