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Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 279–285 | Cite as

Abiotic variables dictate the best monitoring times for the endangered Table Mountain stag beetle (Colophon westwoodi Gray 1832, Coleoptera: Lucanidae)

  • Francois Roets
  • James S. Pryke
  • Melodie A. McGeoch
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

There is often a lack of basic ecological data needed to implement effective conservation management programmes for endangered arthropods. This is particularly true for the highly localized and rare Colophon, a genus of beetles of which all members are narrow range endemics of conservation concern. The genus is confined to the highest mountain peaks in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa and each of the 17 known species is endemic to a particular mountain or range. We investigated the influence of selected abiotic variables on adult Colophon westwoodi activity in Table Mountain National Park, South Africa, which will aid the development of an effective monitoring programme. Weekly surveys conducted on Table Mountain showed that adult numbers peaked during early summer. Adults were active at dusk on clear days, although earlier when misty. Unexpectedly, relative humidity and air temperature had no significant effect on Colophon abundance, while illuminance was the most important predictor. Contrary to general consensus, C. westwoodi activity is not strictly crepuscular but also appears nocturnal. Thus, Colophon monitoring programmes need to be conducted in early summer after sunset and monitoring can continue later than previously assumed. Little is still known about C. westwoodi population size, area of occupancy, general behaviour and the impact tourists have on it, or indeed why the genus is restricted to mountain tops. Therefore this research is important for the design of monitoring protocols for this flagship species, while at the same time directing future research.

Keywords

Invertebrate monitoring Biodiversity conservation Endemic arthropod Cape Floristic Region Narrow range endemic 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Western Cape Nature Conservation Board (Permit number 0035-AAA004-00615) and Table Mountain National Park operated by the South African National Parks for permission to work in the park. This study would not have been possible without help from numerous people that assisted with conducting surveys, often under the most trying of conditions.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francois Roets
    • 1
  • James S. Pryke
    • 1
  • Melodie A. McGeoch
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Conservation Ecology and EntomologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Cape Research CentreSouth African National ParksCape TownSouth Africa

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