Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Nothing is known of these beetles' biology (6). Based on observed behaviour, and what is known of other lucanid beetles, it is presumed that Colophon species have an extremely low reproductive rate (7).
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Description

Cape stag beetles are a group of slow-moving, wingless beetles whose 14 species are restricted to the mountain tops of Cape Province of South Africa (3). These reasonably stout beetles are medium-sized, and have shiny black bodies (4).
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Distribution

Range

The genus Colophon is found only in isolated pockets in the mountains of the Western Cape Province around Cape Town, South Africa (5).
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Ecology

Habitat

Little is documented concerning habitat, but the species are known to be associated with orographic fog and cloud cover (6).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

There are 14 species listed on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1) and listed under Appendix III of CITES (2); C. berrisfordi, C. montisatris, C. cassoni and C. primosi are all classified as Critically Endangered (CR B1+2e), C. barnardi, C. eastmani, C. haughtoni and C. thunbergi are classified as Endangered (EN B1+2e), C. cameroni, C. neli, C. stokoei, C. westwoodi and C. whitei are classified as Vulnerable (VU B1+2e) and C. izardi is listed as Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt) on the IUCN Red List 2004.
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Threats

Collectors appear to pose the greatest threat to this enigmatic group of beetles (6). The Cape stag beetles are amongst the most highly prized beetles on the market (7), with complete sets of Colophon species fetching upward of $10,000, and even single specimens of the rarest species being advertised at several thousand dollars (3). Four Germans have recently been caught having captured 211 of these beetles (5). Other threats include habitat damage and loss, infrastructure development, inappropriate fire regimes, human disturbance, climate change and over-collection by researchers (4) (6). These threats are exacerbated by the small range occupied by this genus and their suspected low reproductive rate (4).
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Management

Conservation

All Colophon species were given provincial legal protection in 1992, which served to limit legal collection, internal trade, and export from the province (7) (3). Their listing on Appendix III of CITES also controls import and export of the species across South Africa's borders (2). These laws appear to be fairly rigorously enforced, with the four Germans recently caught with over 200 of these rare beetles fined almost 10,000 pounds (5). In 1994, it was proposed that Colophon beetles be upgraded to Appendix I of CITES, but the proposal was ultimately withdrawn (7). The upgrade of Colophon beetles to Appendix I would certainly help their chances of future survival, and should be seriously considered in the ongoing objective to protect these rare, endemic beetles.
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Wikipedia

Colophon (genus)

Colophon is a small genus of beetle in the "stag beetle" family Lucanidae.

These beetles are flightless, and are endemic to South Africa, each restricted to its own mountain range or peak within a range (mostly between 1000–2000 m elevation). Dead specimens are highly prized by beetle collectors.

As a result of commercial pressure, Colophon beetles have been placed on CITES Schedule II (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). This means that no trade, exchange or sale of Colophon species is allowed.

Limited reference specimens may only be collected for scientific purposes with the appropriate permit issued by the Department of Western Cape Nature Conservation.

All Colophon species are presently listed as Endangered and Colophon primosi as critically endangered (these changes are not reflected in the 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which was last updated in 1994).[clarification needed]

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