Diversity patterns of eucalypt canopy arthropods in eastern and western Australia


Prof. Jonathan D. Majer, School of Environmental Biology, Curtin University of Technology, PO Box U 1987, Perth, Western Australia 6845, Australia.
E-mail: imajerj@info.curtin.edu.au


1. As part of a larger study on canopy arthropods and birds, a 1-year chemical knockdown study was carried out in one Western Australian forest, where jarrah Eucalyptus marginata and marri E. (Corymbia) calophylla were sampled, and one eastern Australian (New South Wales) forest, where narrow-leaved ironbark E. crebra and grey box E. moluccana were sampled.

2. Ten trees of each species were sampled during each of the four seasons and the arthropods were sorted to morphospecies level. This paper documents the foliage-associated component of arboreal arthropod communities and compares arthropod species richness within orders and families, between tree species, and between the two forest types.

3. Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, and Araneae were the richest in species. Nine hundred and seventy-six species in 173 families were found in the eastern Australian forest, while 687 species in 176 families were found in the western Australian forest. Only 53% of families were common to both forests, but almost half the families recorded were represented by fewer than five species. Species overlap between tree species in each region was 40–53%.

4. Analysis using nonparametric bootstrapping procedures showed that sampling of foliage was comprehensive and that only 4–9% more species would be expected with more intensive sampling of the canopy. Absolute richness, as well as differences between tree species and regions, therefore appear to be real and not the result of sampling errors. As a consequence, arthropod species richness in Australian eucalypt forests is shown to be substantially greater than previous estimates.