Polar Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 841–850 | Cite as

Ecology of Heard Island Diptera

  • Penelope GreensladeEmail author
  • P. Vernon
  • D. Smith
Original Paper


Phenology, distribution and abundance of three Diptera species on Heard Island were investigated to provide baseline data for monitoring the effect on climate change on populations. Five vegetation types at two localities were sampled in two different years, firstly in the summer of 1987–1988 at Atlas Cove and secondly at Spit Bay over 12 months from summer 1992 to summer 1993. Pitfall traps and soil core extractions were operated in summer at both localities and pitfalls alone for 12 months from Spit Bay. The wingless Anatalanta aptera was the most abundant species in traps at Atlas Cove with most individuals collected from Poa tussock grassland, half as many from Pringlea and Azorella vegetation and fewest with a significantly higher level of asymmetry in the large katepisternal setae, from Azorella and Fellfield. Calycopteryx moseleyi was the most abundant fly in traps at Spit Bay, and A. maritima was the least abundant at both localities. Monthly pitfall catches from 1992–1993 indicated that A. aptera was active in most months of the year apart from winter, females early in the season and males active throughout the summer; teneral individuals only detected in January. C. moseleyi was more strongly seasonal with peak adult numbers occurring in January. Amalopteryx maritima was least seasonal in activity. Asymmetry in A. aptera suggests that it was at the limit of its ecological tolerance in Fellfield and Azorella on Heard Island. Changes caused by climate warming or invasive species are mooted.


Anatalanta aptera Calycopteryx moseleyi Amalopteryx maritima Fluctuating asymmetry Climate change Invasive species 



We would like to thank the collectors, H. Burton, P. Climie and K. Green, and also the Australian Antarctic Division for logistic support that facilitated the collection of specimens. The senior author should also like to thank the CRC for Antarctic Science for a grant under the Global Warming Research Programme to enable her to visit Dr Vernon in 1998 and to ASAC for grant moneys to partially support the data collection and analysis. P. Convey made suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Australian MuseumAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Environmental Management, School of Science, Information Technology and EngineeringUniversity of BallaratBallaratAustralia
  3. 3.Université de Rennes I, UMR 6553 CNRSStation BiologiquePaimpontFrance
  4. 4.Australian MuseumSydneyAustralia

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