, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp 2867-2881
Date: 27 Oct 2006

The terrestrial arthropods of Mauritius: a neglected conservation target

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Abstract

Entomology in Mauritius has historically been linked with the agricultural and medical fields but concern should now be directed towards the conservation of native forest insects given that they are key components of the local ecosystem. Despite its young age, small size and remoteness, the island has a well-developed native insect fauna with a high proportion of endemic species. A majority of the insect orders are represented on the island. We document the current state of knowledge for Mauritian arthropods, with particular focus on the Coleoptera. This is the most diverse order locally with 1,032 species. In addition, it is the best catalogued historically, providing a framework for future conservation studies to evaluate the current status of this group. We explore the current threats facing the native insect fauna and highlight the needs for concern on this vital component of local biodiversity. We recognize that the initial step for conserving the native insects will depend largely on the establishment of a local taxonomic knowledge base with international expert input.