New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2003) 27(1): 55- 60

Invertebrate diversity on Olearia bullata and Coprosma propinquain a modified native shrubland, Otago, New Zealand

Short Communication
José G. B. Derraik 1,3,*
Katharine J. M. Dickinson 1
Gerard P. Closs 2
  1. Ecology, Conservation & Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Botany, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. Ecology, Conservation & Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
  3. *Address for correspondence: Ecology and Health Research Centre, Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, P.O. Box 7343, Wellington
*  Corresponding author

Despite the global importance of New Zealands invertebrates, relatively little is known about them and their relationships with plants and plant communities in native habitats. Invertebrate diversity was examined by beating randomly chosen shrubs of the species Olearia bullata (Asteraceae) and Coprosma propinqua(Rubiaceae). Invertebrate taxon richness was assessed initially using morphospecies, which were identified subsequently by expert taxonomists. Though the taxon richness of invertebrates recorded from O. bullata was not significantly higher than that on C. propinqua (except for the orders Diptera and Hemiptera), there was a clear indication that O. bullata hosts a higher diversity of invertebrates. Mean number of taxa per shrub for O. bullata was higher in all cases (except Coleoptera), and so was the maximum number of taxa per shrub. Overall, O. bullata yielded 115 invertebrate taxa compared with 93 for C. propinqua. Moreover, 50 invertebrate taxa were restricted to O. bullata compared with 28 for C. propinqua. Since at least ten species of Oleariaare threatened or uncommon, this could be cause for concern with respect to the maintenance of invertebrate diversity. Therefore, sites where Oleariaspecies are still present are likely to be of significance for invertebrate conservation.