Spectrum Ecology: Life in the Undergrowth


Spectrum ecologists recently had the privilege of searching the Mulga Woodlands of Western Australia’s Mid West for some of the more difficult to find creatures that inhabit this region, known as Short Range Endemics (SREs). SREs are characterised by their small population sizes and lack of dispersal capability, making them particularly vulnerable.Examples include spiders in the Mygalomorphae family, Pseudoscorpions (close, ‘tail-less’ relatives of the more familiar Scorpions), along with slaters, snails, and certain species of centipede and millipede.

We were fortunate to find multiple burrows of potentially different species of trapdoor spider, although we suspect they are within the same ‘Gaius’ genus based on morphological similarities. Other specimens collected were some small (roughly 5mm) pseudoscorpionswhose main dispersal method is hitching rides on larger flying insects, a behaviour referred to as ‘phoresis’.We also collected a single millipede, which unlike the more common species found in urban areas, was in fact hairy!


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