Differences in endemic insect assemblages among vegetation types on a small island of the oceanic Ogasawara Islands


Shinji Sugiura, Department of Forest Entomology, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, 1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8687 Japan. Email: ssugiura@ffpri.affrc.go.jp


Natural vegetation is often replaced by invasive alien plants on isolated oceanic islands. To determine how invasive alien plants affect insect diversity, we compared flying insects captured using Malaise traps among different vegetation types on a small island (Nishijima; 0.49 km2) in the oceanic Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands in the north-western Pacific. The numbers of individuals and species, and the species composition of pollinators (bees), predators (wasps) and wood borers (cerambycid, mordellid and elaterid beetles) were compared among three vegetation types: Casuarina equisetifolia (an invasive alien tree) forest, natural forest and natural grassland (forest edge), during two seasons (June and October–November 2005). In traps, 80.0, 66.7, 87.5, 85.7 and 100.0% of bee, wasp, cerambycid, mordellid and elaterid beetle species, respectively, were endemic to the Ogasawara Islands. Grassland had the highest wasp and bee species richness, whereas natural forest had the highest species richness of wood-boring beetles. The C. equisetifolia forest had the poorest species richness for most insect groups (except mordellid beetles). More individuals of most insect groups (except bees) were captured in June than in October–November. More individual bees and wasps were captured in grassland than in forests, whereas more individual mordellid and elaterid beetles were captured in forests than in grassland. The number of cerambycid individuals did not differ among vegetation types. Redundancy analysis suggested that most insect species preferred natural forest or grassland to alien forest. Therefore, further invasion of natural grassland and forest by the alien tree C. equisetifolia may negatively affect the endemic insect fauna of Nishijima.