Did you Know?
  • The Giant Long-horned Beetle (Anthracocentrus arabicus)is one of the largest beetles in the world at 11 centimetres and can be found in the natural Ghaf forest on the DDCR

Baseline Study of the Arthropod fauna of the DDCR

Aims

A baseline study was required to gain an understanding of the Arthropod fauna present on the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, as well as, how they are effected by environmental factors such as habitat, vegetation, seasonal and climatic changes on the reserve.

Goals

  • To document and form a database of the Arthropod species found on the DDCR this will include photographs, a pinned collection and a spirit collection for future identification or DNA analysis if required. Thereby forming a baseline from which any future studies can be designed.
  • To record the distribution and relative abundance of all the species found on the DDCR and to calculate variables of the species in relation to the different habitats and vegetation.
  • Furthermore the following key indicator species, mainly terrestrial coleopteran, were selected; Arabian darkling. (Pimelia arabica), Rack beetle (Tentyrina palmeri), Urchin beetle (Prionotheca cornata), Scarab beetle (Scarabaeus sacer), Firebrat (Thermobia domestica), to in sight into daily activity times as well as seasonal variation.

Methodology

  • The ground fauna arthropod survey is divided into two parts; the presence/absence survey and the Key species study.
  • Both studies utilise pitfall traps that consist of a tree metre barrier and two buckets used for collecting the arthropods. All arthropods are collected and documented from the traps on a daily basis.
  • The presence/absence survey involves the placement of pitfall traps at 40 randomly selected points across all habitat types within the DDCR. Pitfall traps are in place at each point for a week before being moved.
  • The indicator species survey includes five permanent pitfall traps that are located on different habitats and vegetation types; these are in place for a minimum period of a year.
  • Further trapping and collection is done with light traps, black-lighting and by hand.
  • All trap locations are recorded onto the Garmin GPS and downloaded onto ArcGIS for presentation and further analysis of the data.

Expected Output

  • A comprehensive list and database of all the Arthropod species within the DDCR.
  • Indication of the distribution, movements, active times and population density of the indication species within the DDCR.
  • Photographic manual to simplify species identification in the future.
  • Maps of the distribution and abundance of arthropod species will lead to a better understanding of the preferred habitats and vegetation.
  • Together all the outputs will provide a useful management tool for the design and location of future studies on individual species.