Entomological fauna from Reserva Biologica do Atol das Rocas, RN, Brazil: I. Morphospecies composition

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:C. E. Almeida, Marchon-Silva, V. V., Ribeiro, R., Serpa-Filho, A., Almeida, J. R., Costa, J.
Journal:Revista Brasileira de Biologia
Pagination:291 - 298
Date Published:2000

Atol das Rocas, the unique atoll in the South-western Atlantic, is located 144 nautical miles (266 Km) northeast from the city of Natal, NE Brazil and 80 nautical miles from Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, with geographic co-ordinates 3 masculine51'S and 33 masculine49"W. It's of volcanic origin and coralline formation. The reef is ellipsoid, its largest axis (E-W) is approximately 3.7 km long, and the shortest (N-S) is 2.5 km. Inside the lagoon, there are two islands: the Ilha do Farol and Ilha do Cemiterio, which comprehend 7.2 Km2 of emerged area. The Atol das Rocas lodges 143,000 birds, mainly by Sula dactilatra, S. leucogaster, Anous stolidus, A. minuta and Sterna fuscata. Due to their remote location, the islands remain largely undisturbed by the human activities. Aiming to a first characterization of the entomological diversity and the general trophic niches of atoll's entomofauna, three collects were made (1994, 1995 and 1996) utilizing several methods for a wide sample. One thousand six hundred and six insect specimens were collected belonging to eight orders: 1. Coleoptera - 333 individuals of Dermestidae (Dermestes cadaverinus); Tenebrionidae (Phaleria testacea and morphospecies) and Curculionidae (one morphospecies); 2. Dermaptera - 50 individuals of Carcinophoridae (Anisolabis maritima); 3. Diptera - 281 individuals of Ephydridae (Scatella sp. and Hecamede sp.) and Hippoboscidae (one morphospecies); 4. Hymenoptera - 45 individuals of Formicidae (Brachymyrmex sp.); 5. Lepidoptera - 111 individuals of Microlepidoptera (one morphospecies); 6. Mallophaga - 18 individuals in birds (two morphospecies); 7. Orthoptera - 237 individuals of Acrididae (Schistocerca cancellata), Tridactylidae (one morphospecies) and Blattidae (three morphospecies); 8. Thysanoptera -531 individuals (one morphospecies). Also were collected 112 individuals of Arachnida. The taxa of the Order Araneae were represented by the families: 1. Miturgidae (Cheiracanthium inclusum); 2. Salticidae (two morphospecies) and 3. Segestriidae (Ariadna sp.); 4. Theridiidae (Achaearanea sp. and Latrodectus geometricus). For the Order Scorpionida, only samples of Buthidae (Isometrus maculatus) were collected. Through field observations, it was concluded the most insects are detritophagous and/or necrophagous. It is suggested that which the dimension of ecological niches of the insects are a function of the droppings, trash and corpses of birds. A low diversity in the entomofauna of atoll, with its 25 morphospecies, was ascertained.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith