- James Cook University
- University of California Davis (UC Davis)
Does biogeographical history matter? Diversity and distribution of lotic midges (Diptera : Chironomidae) in the Australian Wet Tropics
Mckie, Brendan; Pearson, Richard; Cranston, Peter S.
We examined broad scale patterns of diversity and distribution of lotic Chironomidae (Diptera) within the Wet Tropics bioregion of northern Queensland, Australia. Field surveys across broad latitudinal and altitudinal gradients within the Wet Tropics revealed a fauna of 87 species-level taxa in 49 genera comprising three main elements: a small genuinely tropical fraction, and larger cosmopolitan and Gondwanan components. The latter group originated when Australia, as part of the ancient Gondwana supercontinent, was situated over Antarctic latitudes with a cooler, wetter climate than today. In the Wet Tropics, cool Gondwanan taxa occurred predominantly in upland and shaded lowland sites, but no species appeared narrowly temperature restricted, and there was no faunal zonation with altitude. Most chironomid species occurred at all latitudes within the Wet Tropics, with no evidence for an enduring effect of the historical rainforest contractions on current-day distribution patterns. These findings contrast with those for aquatic faunas elsewhere in the world and for the terrestrial Wet Tropics fauna. We relate this to the generally broad environmental tolerances of Australian chironomids, and comment on why the latitudinal diversity gradient does not apply to the Australian chironomid fauna.
altitude; diversity gradients; faunal zonation; Gondwana; tropical streams
2005, Volume: 30, number: 1, pages: 1-13
Publisher: BLACKWELL PUBLISHING ASIA
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