WA Museum Records and Supplements | Updated 1 decade ago

Abstract - Recent faunistic surveys of Australian caves have disproven the long-held belief of the continent's apparent paucity of terrestrial troglobites (obligate cavemicolous species). A remarkably rich obligate cavemicolous arthropod fauna has been discovered, especially in limestone caves and lava tubes of tropical North Queensland (Howarth 1988; Howarth and Stone 1990). As rhizophageous primary consumers (Howarth 1981), planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) pose a significant element of this fauna. In the caves, they are represented by the families Cixiidae (genera Undarana Hoch and Howarth: two species, Hoch and Howarth 1989a, and Solonaima Kirkaldy: six species, Hoch and Howarth 1989b) and Meenoplidae (genus Phaconeura Kirkaldy: four species, Hoch 1990). From Western Australia another troglobitic meenoplid species has been described: Phaconeura pluto Fennah, Nambung National Park (Fennah 1973). In the epigean fauna of Australia, Meenoplidae are so far known with eight species and one subspecies of the genera Phaconeura and Nisia Melichar, both belonging to the subfamily Kermesiinae (Kirkaldy 1906; Woodward 1957: Fennah 1963).

Since 1987 intensive biological research has been conducted in Western Australia, in the Cape Range karst area (Humphreys 1991) and revealed the existence of a comparably diverse troglobitic fauna, as in Queensland. Among the many cave-adapted arthropod species is a previously unknown meenoplid species which is described here.

Outside Australia, cavernicolous Meenoplidae are so far known from Western Samoa (Suva oloimoa: Hoch and Asche 1988) and the Canary Islands (Meenoplus cancavus: Remane and Hoch 1988).

Author(s) HOCH, HANNELORE : Part 3
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