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A Behavioural Ecology Approach to Assessing the Effect of Alien Vegetation on a Threatened Giant Millipede

Lawrence, James M., Samways, Michael J., Kelly, Janine A., Henwood, Jock
Journal of insect behavior 2013 v.26 no.3 pp. 428-439
Diplopoda, Ficus, Pisonia grandis, coconuts, ecology, feeding preferences, foraging, plant litter, threatened species, vegetation
The importance of taking into account behavioural ecology when assessing the impacts of habitat deterioration on threatened species is evaluated. The Seychelles giant millipede (SGM), Sechelleptus seychellarum, is IUCN Red-Listed as “Vulnerable”. Here, we studied the effect of alien bamboo and coconut on the behavioural ecology of this species on Cousine Island, Seychelles. Coconut did not affect SGM density, but negatively affected its foraging behaviour, whereas bamboo negatively affected both its density and foraging behaviour. The SGM showed feeding preferences for Pisonia grandis and Ficus sp. leaf litter types. Alien bamboo and coconut pose a varied threat to the SGM, and their removal and replacement by indigenous forest species (e.g. P. grandis and Ficus sp.) should form part of an island’s restoration programme.