Probability of describing an Australian scarab beetle:(r)influence of body size and distribution

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Dates of description for species within a group are broad and it is often assumed that recently described animal species are relatively smaller. This may be because small animals are more easily overlooked. Here, I explore the relationships between dates of description of Australian scarab beetles and their body size, extent of occurrence and the particular areas in which a species occurs. The extent of occurrence and the particular areas in which a species occurs are the best predictors of the date of description. Wide-ranging species occurring in the south east of Australia were generally described first. However, the amount of variation explained by these relationships varies between groups of the beetles. Body size is a poor indicator of the date of description. Understanding these relationships is important in collecting representative samples of the fauna.

Keywords: Australian scarabs; Probability of discovery; body size; geographic range

Document Type: Original Article


Publication date: January 1, 1997

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