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Title: A checklist of ants (Formicidae), spiders (Araneae) and millipedes (Spirostreptida) of the savannah in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
Authors: Mwabvu, Tarombera.
Yekwayo, Inam.
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Keywords: Ants (Formicidae).;Spiders (Araneae).;Millipedes (Spirostreptida).
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Wiley
Abstract: The savannah biome covers half of the land area in Africa and a third of South Africa (Mucina & Rutherford, 2006). Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, is part of the savannah. The species composition of flightless macroinvertebrates in Mpumalanga is incompletely known. However, occurrence of some spiders (Dippenaar‐Schoeman, Berg, Berg, & Foord, 2005; Dippenaar‐Schoeman, Berg, Haddad, & Lyle, 2013; Dippenaar‐Schoeman, Berg, Berg, & Berg, 2001) and millipedes (Hamer, 1998, 2000) in Mpumalanga has been reported. Checklists of flightless invertebrates have also been produced for some protected areas in the neighbouring Limpopo Province (Druce, Hamer, Slotow, & Prendini, 2004; Foord et al., 2016; Munyai & Foord, 2015; Schoeman & Foord, 2012). In addition, Janion‐Scheepers et al. (2016) published a review and species lists of soil fauna of South Africa. The savannah is understudied in terms of the diversity, relative dominance and distribution of flightless macroinvertebrates. As such, the paucity of faunistic data compromises conservation efforts and understanding of their ecological role. Soil macroinvertebrates (SMI) are important in ecosystem processes, such as, leaf litter decomposition, soil turnover and soil structure formation (Lavelle et al., 2006). The limited ability to disperse of SMI leads to isolation and speciation. As such, several flightless SMI are endemics and/or unknown to science. Given the lack of faunistic data, increasing habitat loss and fragmentation associated with anthropogenic disturbances and changing climate, recording the species composition of SMI in unsurveyed habitats is a priority in South Africa. Furthermore, because invertebrates are potential indicators of ecosystem health (Kime & Golovatch, 2000), studying them has become even more important. Without baseline data, the effect of disturbances on flightless SMI will not be understood fully and conservation initiatives would be difficult to implement. As such, we undertook to survey nonvolant SMI and produce checklists for the savannah biome in Mpumalanga. Given the changing climatic conditions, encroaching invasive plants and increasing disturbances, recording flightless macroinvertebrates is critical because they are affected negatively by habitat transformation. The data will contribute to other biodiversity studies and could be used in modelling occurrence and facilitate identification of bioindicators of habitat change. Therefore, our objective was to produce an inventory of ants, spiders and millipedes in disturbed and undisturbed habitats in the savannah in Mpumalanga.
DOI: 10.1111/aje.12679
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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