Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Heteronychus arator
(African black beetle)

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Datasheet

Heteronychus arator (African black beetle)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 10 December 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Heteronychus arator
  • Preferred Common Name
  • African black beetle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
A fully fed third-instar larva is about 25 mm long.
TitleThird-instar larva
CaptionA fully fed third-instar larva is about 25 mm long.
CopyrightAgriculture Western Australia
A fully fed third-instar larva is about 25 mm long.
Third-instar larvaA fully fed third-instar larva is about 25 mm long.Agriculture Western Australia
A typical scarab beetle about 12-15 mm long; it is shiny black dorsally and reddish-brown ventrally.
TitleAdult
CaptionA typical scarab beetle about 12-15 mm long; it is shiny black dorsally and reddish-brown ventrally.
CopyrightAgriculture Western Australia
A typical scarab beetle about 12-15 mm long; it is shiny black dorsally and reddish-brown ventrally.
AdultA typical scarab beetle about 12-15 mm long; it is shiny black dorsally and reddish-brown ventrally.Agriculture Western Australia

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Heteronychus arator (Fabricius)

Preferred Common Name

  • African black beetle

Other Scientific Names

  • Heteronychus sanctaehelenae Blanchard
  • Heteronychus transvaalensis Peringuey
  • Scarabaeus arator Fabricius

International Common Names

  • English: beetle, African black; beetle, black maize; black maize beetle

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Kaefer, Schwarzer Mais-

EPPO code

  • HETRAR (Heteronychus arator)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Coleoptera
  •                         Family: Scarabaeidae
  •                             Genus: Heteronychus
  •                                 Species: Heteronychus arator

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 30 Jun 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AngolaPresent
BotswanaPresent
ComorosPresent
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresent
Congo, Republic of thePresent
EthiopiaPresent
KenyaPresent
LesothoPresent
MadagascarPresent
MalawiPresent
MozambiquePresent
NamibiaPresent
Saint HelenaPresent
South AfricaPresent
TanzaniaPresent
-Zanzibar IslandPresent
ZambiaPresent
ZimbabwePresent

Oceania

AustraliaPresent, Localized
-New South WalesPresent, Localized
-QueenslandPresent
-South AustraliaPresent, Localized
-Western AustraliaPresent, Localized
New ZealandPresent, Localized
Norfolk IslandPresent
Papua New GuineaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)

South America

BrazilAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
-Rio de JaneiroAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
-Santa CatarinaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)

Growth Stages

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Pre-emergence, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Stems / external feeding
Whole plant / cut at stem base

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Adelina tenebrionis Pathogen Arthropods|Larvae
Apteryx australis Predator
Flock House virus Pathogen
Metarhizium anisopliae Pathogen
Microphthalma europaea Parasite Arthropods|Larvae
Microphthalma sejuncta Parasite Arthropods|Larvae
Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus Pathogen
small RNA viruses Pathogen
Thyreocephalus orthodoxus Predator
Tiphia transvaalensis Parasite Arthropods|Larvae

References

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Abbott I, 1993. Insect pest problems of eucalypt plantations in Australia. 6. Western Australia. Australian Forestry, 56(4):381-384; 21 ref.

Ball OJP, Miles CO, Prestidge RA, 1997. Ergopeptine alkaloids and Neotyphodium lolii-mediated resistance in perennial ryegrass against adult Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 90(5):1382-1391; 39 ref.

Blank RH, Olson MH, Bell DS, 1982. Insecticidal control of black beetle (Heteronychus arator) in pasture. New Zealand Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 10(4):433-438

Bulinski, J., Matthiessen, J. N., Alexander, R., 2006. Development of a cost-effective, pesticide-free approach to managing African black beetle (Heteronychus arator) in Australian eucalyptus plantations. Crop Protection, 25(11), 1161-1166. doi: 10.1016/j.cropro.2005.12.006

CABI/EPPO, 2000. Heteronychus arator. Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, Map No. 163. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Cumpston DM, 1940. On the external morphology and biology of Heteronychus sanctae-Helenae Blanch. And Metanastes vulgivagus Olliff (Col., Scarabaeidae, Dynastinae). Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales, 65:289-300.

Drinkwater TW, 1979. The black maize beetle. Farming in South Africa Maize Series D: Leaflet D4/1979.

Drinkwater TW, 1982. The control of the black maize beetle, Heteronychus arator (Col.: Scarabpidae), in maize in South Africa. Phytophylactica, 14(4):165-167

Drinkwater TW, 1987. The efficacy of insecticides in the control of the black maize beetle, Heteronychus arator (Col.: Scarabpidae) in maize in South Africa. Phytophylactica, 19(3):275-277

Drinkwater TW, Groenewald LH, 1994. Comparison of imidacloprid and furathiocarb seed dressing insecticides for the control of the black maize beetle, Heteronychus arator Fabricius (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), in maize. Crop Protection, 13(6):421-424

Endrödi S, 1985. The Dynastinae of the World. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Dr. W. Junk, 800 pp.

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm

Hume, D. E., Ryan, D. L., Cooper, B. M., Popay, A. J., 2007. Agronomic performance of AR37-infected ryegrass in northern New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association, 69, 201-205.

Jenkins CFH, 1965. The black beetle. Journal of Agriculture Western Australia, 6:39-42.

King PD, 1977. Effect of plant species and organic matter on feeding behaviour and weight gain of larval black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabpidae). New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 4(4):445-448

King PD, Meekings JS, Mercer CF, 1982. Effects of whitefringed weevil (Graphognathus leucoloma) and black beetle (Heteronychus arator) populations on pasture species. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 25(3):405-414

King PD, Mercer CF, Meekings JS, 1981. Ecology of black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabpidae) - influence of pasture species on oviposition site preference. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 8(1):119-122

King PD, Mercer CF, Meekings JS, 1981. Ecology of black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabpidae) - population modelling. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 24(1):99-105

King PD, Mercer CF, Meekings JS, 1981. Ecology of black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabpidae) - population studies. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 24(1):87-97

Landin BO, 1964. The identity of 'Scarabaeus arator Fabricius, 1775' (Col. Lamellicornia) with the designation of neotypes of arator Illig. and a list of the insects from Cape Colony described by Fabricius 1775. Opuscula Entomology, 29:117-142.

Learmonth SE, Sproul AN, 1988. Pasture rotation - the main source of insect pest problems in Western Australian potato crops. In: Stahle PP, ed. Proceedings of the 5th Australasian Conference on Grassland Invertebrate Ecology. Melbourne, Australia: D & D Printing, 163-168.

Matthiessen JN, 1993. African black beetle population regulation in a Mediterranean climate region of Australia - an enigma. In: Prestidge RA, ed. Proceedings of the 6th Australasian Conference on Grassland Invertebrate Ecology. Hamilton, New Zealand: AgResearch, 60-66.

Matthiessen JN, Learmonth SE, 1995. Impact of the soil insects African black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) and whitefringed weevil, Graphognathus leucoloma (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), on potatoes and effects of soil insecticide treatments in south-western Australia. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 85(1):101-111

Matthiessen JN, Learmonth SE, 1998. Seasonally contrasting activity of African black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): implications for populations, pest status and management. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 88(4):443-450; 18 ref.

Matthiessen JN, Learmonth SE, Sumner MW, 1997. Surface activity of African black beetle in spring favours a pre-oviposition adulticide approach to its management. In: Allsopp PG, Rogers DJ, Robertson LN, eds. Soil invertebrates in 1997. Proceedings of the 3rd Brisbane Workshop on Soil Invertebrates. Indooroopilly, Australia: Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, 149-152.

Matthiessen JN, Ridsdill-Smith TJ, 1991. Populations of African black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabpidae) in a Mediterranean climate region of Australia. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 81(1):85-91

Matthiessen, J. N., Learmonth, S. E., 1993. Spatial sampling of insects, plant parts and insect attacks in the soil of potato crops. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 83(4), 607-612. doi: 10.1017/S0007485300040037

Russell GB, Sutherland ORW, Christmas PE, Wright H, 1982. Feeding deterrents for black beetle larvae, Heteronychus arator (Scarabpidae), in Trifolium repens. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 9(1):145-149

Sainty BJ, 1991. Experiences with African black beetle and weevils. Australian & New Zealand Wine Industry Journal, 6(3):237-238

Sutherland ORW, 1976. A chemical basis for plant resistance to grass grub and black beetle larvae (Coleoptera: Scarabpidae). Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association, 37(1):126-131

Sutherland ORW, Greenfield WJ, 1978. Effect of root extracts of resistant pasture plants on the feeding and survival of black beetle larvae, Heteronychus arator (Scarabpidae). New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 5(1):173-175

Taylor TA, 1951. The black maize beetle (Heteronychus sanctae-helenae). South African Farming, 26:299-302.

Toit HA Du, 1997. Habitat preference of African black beetle and other soil insect pests of maize in South Africa. In: Allsopp PG, Rogers DJ, Robertson LN, eds. Soil invertebrates in 1997. Proceedings of the 3rd Brisbane Workshop on Soil Invertebrates. Indooroopilly, Australia: Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, 44-47.

Venter, R. J. H., Louw, M., 1978. Heteronychus arator (Fabricius), a potentially dangerous pest of potatoes (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Phytophylactica, 10(3), 99.

Watson RN, 1980. Dispersal and distribution of Heteronychus arator in New Zealand (Coleoptera: Scarabpidae). In: Crosby TK, Pottinger RP, ed. Proceedings of the 2nd Australasian conference on grassland invertebrate ecology. Palmerston North, New Zealand 22-26 May 1978. Government Printer. Wellington New Zealand, 149-152

Wright WE, 1958. The black beetle. The Agricultural Gazette, August:422-427.

Distribution References

Abdallah M, Mwatawala M W, Kudra A B, Urio N A, Mtakwa P W, 2018. Damage and control of the invasive African black beetle Heteronychus arator F. (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in Southern highlands of Tanzania. International Journal of Pest Management. 64 (1), 88-93. DOI:10.1080/09670874.2017.1335913

Bulinski J, Matthiessen J N, 2002. Poor efficacy of the insecticide chlorpyrifos for the control of African black beetle (Heteronychus arator) in eucalypt plantations. Crop Protection. 21 (8), 621-627. DOI:10.1016/S0261-2194(02)00012-1

Bulinski J, Matthiessen J N, Alexander R, 2006. Development of a cost-effective, pesticide-free approach to managing African black beetle (Heteronychus arator) in Australian eucalyptus plantations. Crop Protection. 25 (11), 1161-1166. DOI:10.1016/j.cropro.2005.12.006

CABI, EPPO, 2000. Heteronychus arator. [Distribution map]. In: Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, Wallingford, UK: CAB International. Map 163. DOI:10.1079/DMPP/20066600163

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Drinkwater T W, 1982. The control of the black maize beetle, Heteronychus arator (Col.: Scarabaeidae), in maize in South Africa. Phytophylactica. 14 (4), 165-167.

Drinkwater T W, 2003. Bioassays to compare the systemic activity of three neonicotinoids for control of Heteronychus arator Fabricius (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in maize. Crop Protection. 22 (7), 989-993. DOI:10.1016/S0261-2194(03)00116-9

Drinkwater TW, 1979. The black maize beetle. In: Farming in South Africa Maize Series D: Leaflet D4/1979,

EPPO, 2021. EPPO Global database. In: EPPO Global database, Paris, France: EPPO. https://gd.eppo.int/

Hume D E, Ryan D L, Cooper B M, Popay A J, 2007. Agronomic performance of AR37-infected ryegrass in northern New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association. 201-205.

JENKINS C F H, 1965. The black beetle. Journal of the Department of Agriculture for Western Australia. 6 (1), 39-42 pp.

Matthiessen J N, Learmonth S E, 1993. Spatial sampling of insects, plant parts and insect attacks in the soil of potato crops. Bulletin of Entomological Research. 83 (4), 607-612. DOI:10.1017/S0007485300040037

Matthiessen J N, Learmonth S E, 1998. Seasonally contrasting activity of African black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): implications for populations, pest status and management. Bulletin of Entomological Research. 88 (4), 443-450. DOI:10.1017/S0007485300042188

Matthiessen J N, Ridsdill-Smith T J, 1991. Populations of African black beetle, Heteronychus arator (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in a Mediterranean climate region of Australia. Bulletin of Entomological Research. 81 (1), 85-91. DOI:10.1017/S000748530005327X

NHM, Undated. Specimen record from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK)., London, UK: Natural History Museum (London).

Sainty B J, 1991. Experiences with African black beetle and weevils. Australian & New Zealand Wine Industry Journal. 6 (3), 237-238.

Venter R J H, Louw M, 1978. Heteronychus arator (Fabricius), a potentially dangerous pest of potatoes (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Phytophylactica. 10 (3), 99.

Villiers V de, 1984. Field experience with Volaton for soil insect control in maize (Zea mays L.) and grain sorghum (Sorghum vulgare) in the Republic of South Africa. Pflanzenschutz-Nachrichten Bayer. 37 (1), 1-20.

Watson R N, 1980. Dispersal and distribution of Heteronychus arator in New Zealand (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). In: Proceedings of the 2nd Australasian conference on grassland invertebrate ecology. Palmerston North, New Zealand 22-26 May 1978. [Proceedings of the 2nd Australasian conference on grassland invertebrate ecology. Palmerston North, New Zealand 22-26 May 1978.], [ed. by Crosby T K, Pottinger R P]. Wellington, New Zealand: Government Printer. 149-152.

Wright WE, 1958. The black beetle. In: The Agricultural Gazette, August, 422-427.

Distribution Maps

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