On the influence of season and salinity on the phenology of invertebrates in Australian saline lakes, with special reference to those of the Paroo in the semiarid inland
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While the fauna of Australian salt lakes is now well-known, seasonal phenological patterns of invertebrates are not. Two studies on saline lakes in southern Australia suggest the lakes fill in early winter and remain at salinities characteristic for each lake during winter-spring before elevating and drying in summer. The fauna is dominated by crustaceans with few insects and all component species are present most of the time and randomly fluctuating in numbers. Lakes in the southern inland (mainly Lake Eyre) fill in summer, change little in salinity until near drying, and are dominated by crustaceans but have some insects. By contrast temporary salinas in the central inland fill episodically mainly in summer and then their salinity increases steadily as they dry without further rain. Their fauna is also dominated by crustaceans, but with a significant insect component and composition varies though the hydrological cycle. This study reports on an unusual winter fill in two central Paroo lakes and two pools, in which the crustacean fauna is similar to that in summer but insects are delayed till late spring and are not as common as in summer fills. It seems therefore that while insects are more restricted by medium and high salinities than crustaceans, they are also more restricted by cooler temperatures than crustaceans.
Keywordcrustaceans aquatic insects rotifers regional fauna biogeography habitat heterogeneity
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I thank the various owners through the years of Bloodwood Station for ready access to its wetlands, and especially to the recent owners, the Hansons, for hospitality as well. David Leigo is thanked for sharing his rainfall records from Dungarvon Station. Finally, I am indebted to Ian Bayly for his helpful comments on the manuscript.
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