An Overview of Invertebrate Fauna Collections from the Undara Lava Tube System


Arthur Clarke


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January 2010


In the summer of 1988/1989, the author visited the Undara Lava Tube System, undertaking a study of invertebrate fauna, collecting species from the arid surface and humid subterranean environments. The visit immediately followed the 17th ASF Conference (Tropicon) at Lake Tinaroo, near Cairns, where the significance of the hypogean biodiversity at Undara had been highlighted. The author’s subsequent fauna collection at Chillagoe and Undara was undertaken under the auspices of a permit from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Serious biological collecting at Undara commenced under the patronage of Brother Nicholas Sullivan from the Explorers Club, New York; he introduced two Hawaiian cave biologists: Fred Stone and Frank Howarth. All three visited and collected from Undara for the first time in 1985, together with local cavers including Doug Irwin. In the following years, they were joined by other expedition biologists, such as the German planthopper specialists Hannelore Hoch and Manfred Asche. Later studies were also carried out on Operation Raleigh by their biologist Michael Godwin and in 1995 and 1997 during the fieldwork conducted by David Slaney working on his PhD dissertation. Unfortunately, there is scant mention of the cave fauna in the September 1999 Management Plan for the Undara Volcanic National Park. Although a condition of the author’s permit required all collected specimens to be lodged in the Queensland Museum (QM), cave fauna from Undara has also been deposited in the Australian Museum (AM) in Sydney and the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) in Canberra. Some specimens are being worked on in Germany and USA, where, for example, specimens from QM have been loaned to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum of Honolulu in Hawaii. However, some of the Undara collections have still not been determined for various reasons, including issues related to museum policy and resources, insufficient numbers of a particular species, the immaturity of individual specimens or the absence of an adult male


Undara Lava Tube System, Invertebrate, Fauna

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