Lowland Insects and Their Environments: Non-forest Habitats

  • Tim R. New


In the last chapter we noted the importance of alpine grasslands and herbfields as insect habitats, with a substantial number of localised high elevation insects depen­ding on these resources, and sometimes being seasonally abundant in what may generally be low-competition environments. Considerably greater variety of grasslands and allied ‘open vegetation’ habitats occurs at lower elevations, and these – ranging from grasslands and herbfields and others with little or limited tree cover, are considered here. These open systems each have ecological peculiarities and insects that are restricted to them, or predominantly found there. Clearly, they also intergrade with more woody systems, so that biotopes such as mallee and open grassy woodlands are in many ways intermediates between grassland and forest – and their characteristic insects also encompass that breadth of variety. Many of these vegetation types are geographically circumscribed. But, as the major entomological contrasts are with the true forest-dependent insects, it is perhaps sensible to consider them together here and to exemplify some of the features they have in common. Forest insects are discussed in the next chapter.


Native Grassland Alpine Grassland Grass Tussock Flagship Species Ecological Peculiarity 
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Further Reading

  1. Clarke GM (2000) Inferring demography from genetics: a case study of the endangered golden sun moth, Synemon plana. In: Young AG, Clarke GM (eds) Genetics, demography and viability of fragmented populations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 213–225 (case study of genetic variation related to habitat fragmentation in grassland)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Gibson L, New TR (2007) Problems in studying populations of the golden sun-moth Synemon plana (Lepidoptera: Castniidae) in south eastern Australia. J Insect Conserv 11:309–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Heatwole H, Lowman M (1986) Dieback. Death of an Australian landscape. Reed Books, French’s Forest (discussion of causes and significance of rural and forest dieback of eucalypts in Australia)Google Scholar
  4. Taylor RW (1978) Nothomyrmecia macrops: a living-fossil ant rediscovered. Science 201:979–985 (the rediscovery and significance of this notable ant)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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