Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Solomon Island Freshwater Insects

A few months ago, Dan Polhemus and a team from the Bishop Museum in Hawaii published a report on the freshwater insects of the Solomon Islands. Funnily enough, it makes for some very interesting reading. The Solomons are a fascinating and beautiful place, though somewhat off the track and as such the fauna and flora are relatively little known. It's isolation and temperamental politics combine to make it somewhat unattractive to visiting scientists. There is information out there though, if you put the effort in to find it.

Coming back to the report in question: having skimmed through it I am determined to read it in much greater detail in the future. It has a summary of the geological history of the islands which is of use to anyone wanting to understand the biota of the islands. They also summarise the work done on freshwater fauna and augment it with the results of a expedition there in 2004-2005 in which they visited the six main islands and several surrounding ones. They record the variety of fish and aquatic insects from each site before finishing with comments on the conservation status of these environments and the patterns of endemicity.

The other great thing about this report is that it has some really cool pictures! The photo above is one that I stole from it. It's a beautiful Nososticta salomonis from Choiseul...

All in all a very interesting and timely publication, and one that I may have to revisit sometime.

Polhemus DA, Englund RA, Allen GR, Boseto D, and Polhemus, JT (2008.)
Freshwater biotas of the Solomon Islands. Analysis of richness, endemism, and threats.
Final report prepared for Conservation International, Washington, D.C. 127 pp. [PBS 2008-013]

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