Original Research

Fluctuations in Availability of Arthropods Correlated with Microchiropteran and Avian Predator Activities

I.L. Rautenbach, A.C. Kemp, C.H. Scholtz
Koedoe | Vol 31, No 1 | a486 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v31i1.486 | © 1988 I.L. Rautenbach, A.C. Kemp, C.H. Scholtz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 October 1988 | Published: 21 October 1988

About the author(s)

I.L. Rautenbach, Transvaal Museum, South Africa
A.C. Kemp, Transvaal Museum, South Africa
C.H. Scholtz, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Full Text:



Aerial arthropods were sampled by driving a standard transect along the riparian forest of the Luvuvhu River, South Africa, to assess hourly and seasonal variations in available biomass. Sampling, with an air-plankton net mounted on a vehicle, was conducted hourly over 48-hour periods during the fullest phase of the moon for each of eight months during 1986/87. Seasonal variation in availability of terrestrial arthropods was assessed by means of six pitfall traps set in the riparian forest. On a daily basis, the available biomass of aerial arthropods was found to increase markedly at and during the two hours following sunset, with a slight peak at or in the two hours preceding dawn. Highest monthly availability was found to correspond with the warm summer rainy season, with a marked increase after the first rains. The peak for terrestrial arthropods was found to occur later in the summer than for aerial arthropods. These patterns of arthropod availability correlate well with the daily activity rhythms and seasonal reproduc- tion of microchiropteran bats and their avian predators.


Arthropods, biomass, insectivorous, bats, raptors, variation, activity rhythms, breeding strategies.


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