To survey the terrestrial arthropods, the team will use a number of cost-effective and proven techniques. First and foremost among these is simple visual searching. Microhabitats, such as foliage, deadwood, leaf-litter, ant/termite nests and rotting matter are searched for insects and other arthropods. Pitfall trapping is another very useful technique for this type of work and gives a good idea of the diversity of surface-active animals. Transects of traps to collect flying insects can also be erected. UV traps, either as simple light sheets or self-contained traps can be used to sample nocturnal animals, especially Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera and some Hymenoptera.
The Nguru Mountains contain one Nature Reserve (Mkingu; formed of Mkindo and Nguru South forest reserves) and two central government managed ‘catchment’ Forest Reserves (Kanga and Magotwe), with a total area of 31,409 ha – all supporting Eastern Arc forest. The forest vegetation is highly varied according to altitude. Lowland rain forest occurs between 300-900 m in valleys of the eastern slopes. Submontane forest covers a large area between 900 and 1400 m in the eastern valleys with fragments on the western slopes at 1400-1500 m.
Montane forest occurs between 1400 and 1800 m with moss covered upper montane forest at higher altitudes, and drier montane forests on the western side above Maskati mission at 1600-2000 m. Heath occurs on the upper ridges above 2000 m, with some isolated stands as low as 1200 m where soil conditions do not permit forest growth.
The team will be working from temporary field sites based in tents and working under tarpaulin. Conditions will be basic and the team will be working to minimum impact guidelines.
The Andravory 2016 expedition is an initiative of the ridge2reef trust (charity registration: 1149283)
We expect our results to include:
Production of the first species list for Hymenoptera and other unknown insect and arachnid groups
New species discoveries and range extensions
New locality data for a range of species.
In addition, preliminary and final reports will be submitted following the fieldwork, the results will also be published in scientific journals and will be available for use by agencies of conservation management.