Temporal variations in reptile assemblages in the goldfields of Western Australia
Royal Society of Western Australia Inc.
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
We report significant variation in reptile pit-trapping results for eleven survey periods over two and half years for nine sites in the Goldfields region of Western Australia. We collected a total of 51 species and 2868 individual reptiles from a surveying effort of 33264 pit-trap days. Year-to-year variation in relative abundances for particular species was greater than elsewhere reported as being the result of stochastic events such as fires. Seasonal variation in catch rates suggest that to adequately survey an area, pit-trapping programs need to be undertaken in more than one season. This has significant (financial) consequences for mining companies and other industries that employ consultants to undertake terrestrial fauna surveys to describe that component of the biodiversity for an area. Environmental protection agencies need to adjust their guidelines for terrestrial faunal surveys to adequately describe the biodiversity of an area. Our data indicate that before researchers can claim that year-to-year variation in reptile assemblages are due to stochastic events they must account for ‘normal’ year-to-year variations.