Fire studies in mallee (Eucalyptus spp.) communities of Western New South Wales: Reptile and beetle populations in sites of differing fire history

Christine Schlesinger, James C. Noble, Tom Weir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Reptile and terrestrial beetle populations were sampled within adjoining mallee communities of similar botanical composition, but differing in fire history and vegetation structure. Studies were aimed at determining whether there were any major differences between faunal communities in sites with different fire histories. While the number of beetle species captured was significantly higher in the two most recently burnt sites, overall abundance of beetles did not differ significantly between various fire histories. Captures of Carenurn interiove were highest in a site burnt seven years prior to the study whereas captures of Tvichocarenum sp. were most common in the two most recently burnt areas. The number of reptile species captured did not differ significantly between sites but the relative abundance of nocturnal and diurnal reptiles was found to be significantly related to time since last fire. The number of geckos captured at the oldest fire site (burnt 18 years earlier) were significantly fewer than at the more recently burnt sites whereas captures of diurnal lizards did not differ. These patterns of reptile abundance are consistent with those found in other fire studies undertaken in similar habitats. This preliminary study confirms that both reptiles and beetles may be usefully incorporated in future management systems designed to monitor biological diversity in mallee ecosystems. Key words: fire, mallee, porcupine grass, nocturnal and diurnal reptiles and beetles
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-205
Number of pages16
JournalRangeland Journal
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

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