n African Zoology - Patterns of millipede (Diplopoda), centipede (Chilopoda) and scorpion (Scorpionida) diversity in savanna habitats within the Greater Makalali Conservancy, South Africa

Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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Although savanna is one of the most important biomes in southern Africa, it is, apart from the botanical component, one of the least studied. This study aimed to document the distribution patterns, richness and diversity of selected ground-dwelling, flightless arthropods (millipedes, centipedes and scorpions) within savanna habitats to improve invertebrate conservation planning. Five habitat types (white sand bushveld, brown sand bushveld, general mixed bushveld, rocky outcrops and mopane woodland) within the Greater Makalali Conservancy, Limpopo Province, South Africa, were studied using four successful sampling methods (active searching of two types of quadrats, pitfall traps and drive transects) during three sampling periods between February 1999 and March 2000. Millipedes were consistently the most species rich and abundant taxon. Species were not uniformly distributed across all habitat types; some species were unique to certain habitats. Generally, the more heterogeneous habitats supported the greatest millipede, centipede and scorpion diversity, richness and density, and in the case of the millipedes contained the highest number of regional endemics and habitat specialists. There was no significant difference in scorpion diversity among habitats.

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