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Title Acoustic assessment of insect fauna in fragmented and natural areas

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Short title Acoustic assessment of insect fauna

Author(s) Grant, P.B.C.(1); Samways, M.J.(2)

Presenting author Grant, P.B.C.

Institution(s) University of Stellenbosch

Keywords Bioacoustics, conservation monitoring, biodiversity, Orthoptera

Abstract Orthoptera, exhibit a rich and complex variety of songs which are species specific. Katydids (Tettigonioidea) show the greatest diversity of songs, which cover a wide spectral range, often into the ultrasonic. These soundscapes can be used as a non-invasive tool for monitoring biodiversity and assessing habitat quality. As Orthoptera are cryptic, yet sensitive indicators, acoustic surveys provide an additional assessment window that allows us to observe patterns and priorities not readily observable.

Within the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot, lowland vegetation types of the CFR are highly transformed, and persist as tiny islands in a sea of encroaching arthropegenic change. To ensure the protection of remaining habitat fine-scale conservation plans need to be implemented. Bioacoustic surveys provide a quick measure of Orthopteran diversity, even in the absence of taxonomic expertise. Presented here are the benefits and methods of acoustic monitoring. A field which has great conservation value yet has been largely ignored, but potentially of great benefit for assessing aspects of landscape change and habitat fragmentation under the BIOTA project.

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