The invertebrates of Prosperous Bay Plain, St Helena a survey by Philip and Myrtle Ashmole September – December 2003 Commissioned by the St Helena Government and financed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office



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8. Conclusion

Airport construction on Prosperous Bay Plain would present a major challenge to all those involved, on environmental as well as engineering and financial grounds. With respect to the endemic invertebrates, there is no doubt that the airport project must have a negative impact. Where rare species with extremely limited range are concerned, destruction of part of the habitat must to some extent endanger the long-term survival of the populations. For each species, this negative effect increases – often disproportionately – with the extent of the habitat destroyed.

The challenge, therefore, is to ensure that at all stages in planning and executing this multi-million pound construction project, the best options – not simply the cheapest options – are selected. Provision of environmental protection in just this kind of situation is the primary reason for establishing the Environment Charter, and the airport project will present a tough test. If they pass the test in this high-profile case, the St Helena Government and HMG (and also the consultants and contractors) will gain credit internationally for limiting the inevitable damage caused by a development considered desirable on social and economic grounds.

Our judgement is that with goodwill, appropriate decision-making and strict enforcement of environmental protection protocols, complemented by bold initiatives in ecological restoration, it is possible to develop an airport on Prosperous Bay Plain while adhering to the principles of the Environment Charter. The plain can remain a striking landscape, enhanced by restoration of lost plant communities and of high value to residents and visitors. The Central Basin can become an acclaimed protected area and a re-established seabird colony at Gill Point can go some way to offset the inevitable damage caused by airport development.

We conclude by quoting the final statement by a member of the island community in an earlier document relating to the development of air access to St Helena:
“…satisfactory conservation management of the site during the operation of the airport will have long term benefits. Not only will the islanders be able to enjoy the benefits of the airport’s facilities, they will also be able to enjoy it with the peace of mind that it was not at the expense of some of the features that make the island unique.”

L G Caesar (2001)




9. Bibliography

Ashmole, N P (1963) The extinct avifauna of St Helena Island. Ibis 103b: 390-408.


Ashmole, N P & Ashmole, M J (1997) The land fauna of Ascension Island: new data from caves and lava flows, and a reconstruction of the prehistoric ecosystem. Journal of Biogeography 24: 549-589.
Ashmole, P & Ashmole, M (2000a) St Helena and Ascension Island: a natural history. Anthony Nelson Publishers, Oswestry.
Ashmole, N P & Ashmole, M J (2000b) Fallout of dispersing arthropods supporting invertebrate communities in barren volcanic habitats. Pp. 269-286 in Wilkens, H, Culver, D C & Humphreys, W F, editors (2000) Ecosystems of the World 30: Subterranean Ecosystems. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Atkins (undated) St Helena Access Feasibility Study, Options Paper Public Information. Atkins Management Consultants, Epsom.
Baker, I (1968) The Geology of Saint Helena Islan, South Atlantic. Ph.D. thesis, University of London.
Basilewsky 1970, 1972, 1976, 1977. La faune terrestre de d’ile de Sainte-Hélène. Annales musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale 181, 192, 215, 220.
Brown, L C (1981) The land resources and agro-forestal development of St Helena, Vols. 1 and 2. Land Resource Study No. 32, Land Resources Development Centre, ODA, Surbiton, Surrey.
Caesar, L G (2001) An ecological impact assessment of the site proposed for the construction of the St Helena Island airport. Unpublished report of ES3301 Environmental Science Honours Project 2000/2001.
Cronk, Q C B (2000) The endemic flora of St Helena. Anthony Nelson, Oswestry.
Daly, R A (1927) The geology of Saint Helena Island. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 62(No. 2): 31-92.
Fowler, S V (1993) Report on a visit to St Helena 6-25 June 1993. International Institute of Biological Control, Silwood Park, Ascot.
Karisch, T (2001) Zur Schmetterlingsfauna von St. Helena. 1. Teil: Grossschmetterlinge (Insecta: Lepidoptera). Linzer biol. Beitr. 33(1): 407-434.
McCulloch, M N (1991) Status, habitat and conservation of the St Helena Wirebird Charadrius sanctaehelenae. Bird Conservation International 1: 361-392.
Olson, S L (1975) Paleornithology of St. Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology Number 23. 50 pp.
Robinson, G & Tuck, K R (1997) Phylogeny and composition of the Hieroxestinae (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Systematic Entomology 22: 363-396.
Röhricht, W (1998) About the Neuroptera of St. Helena and Ascension islands (South Atlantic Ocean). Acta zoologica Fennica 209: 217-219.
Seely, M (1992) The Namib: natural history of an ancient desert, 2nd edition. Shell Namibia Ltd, Windhoek.
Spooner, B (2000) Initial environmental screening review and environmental appraisal. Annex 2 to High-Point Rendel consultancy report on “The sea and air access options for St Helena and its dependencies.”
Wallace, A R (1880) Island Life. MacMillan & Co., London.
Weaver, B (1991) A guide to the Geology of Saint Helena, 2nd edition. University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.

TABLE 1. Species endemic to St Helena recorded from the Eastern Arid Area (EAA) of St Helena. The final column records non-endemic species new for St Helena found in the EAA during the 2003 survey

Species name


* endemic species

** endemic genus

@ confined to EAA


Endemic previously recorded

on EAA


Endemic found on EAA in 2003

2003 record is new endemic or rediscovered fossil

2003 or 1995 record is of non-endemic new for island

GASTROPODA













Succineidae













* Succinea sanctaehelenae

x

x







Vertiginidae













* Nesopupa turtoni




x

x



















PSEUDOSCORPIONES













Cheliferidae













@** Sphallowithius excelsus

x

x







Olpiidae













@** Hemisolinus helenae

x

























ARANEAE













Corinnidae













** Xeropigo tridentiger

x

x







Gnaphosidae













@** Benoitodes caheni

x










?* Zelotes errans




x







Lycosidae













@?* Brevilabus(?) elysae

x

x







?* Brevilabus(?) ringens




x







** Dolocosa dolosa

x










* Hogna cinica

x










@* Hogna nefasta

x

x







* Hogna inexorabilis

x










* Hogna ligata

x










@?* Lycorma(?) species




x

?




@?* Trochosippa(?) species




x

?




Miturgidae













** Helebiona wilma

x










Nesticidae













* Nesticus helenensis

x










Oecobiidae













?* Oecobius species A




x

?




?* Oecobius species B




x

?




Oonopidae













* Gamasomorpha atlantica

x










* Oonops erinaceus

x










Opopaea concolor










x

Prodidomidae













Prodidomus rufus










x

@* Zimirina relegata

x

x







Salticidae













* Pellenes inexcultus

x

x









Species name


* endemic species

** endemic genus

@ confined to EAA


Endemic previously recorded

on EAA


Endemic found on EAA in 2003

2003 record is new endemic or rediscovered fossil

2003 or 1995 record is of non-endemic new for island

Theridiidae













Latrodectus geometricus










x

Thomisidae













@** Bonapruncinia sanctaehelenae

x










* Philodromus signatus

x

x






















ACARI













Cryptostigmata: Liodidae













* Liodes lanceosetosus

x

?







Prostigmata: Anystidae













@* Chaussieria benoiti

x










@* Chaussieria brevis

x










@* Chaussieria dissimilis

x










@* Chaussieria sanctaehelenae

x










Prostigmata: Bdellidae













@* Bdellodes parvisetosa

x

?







Prostigmata: Erythraeidae













@* Sphaerolophus cooremani

x

























CHILOPODA













Geophilidae













@* Tuoba benoiti

x

x







Scolopendridae













@* Cryptops basilewskyi

x

x






















THYSANURA













Lepismatidae













* Ctenolepisma sanctaehelenae

x

x







@* Ctenolepisma new species




x

x



















ORTHOPTERA













Acrididae













** Primnia sanctaehelenae

x

x







** Tinaria calcarata

x










Gryllidae













* Gryllus abnormis

x










Mogoplistidae













?* Mogoplistidae species




x

?



















DERMAPTERA













Labiduridae













@*Labidura herculeana

x

























HETEROPTERA













Anthocoridae













* Cardiastethus bicolor

x

x









Species name


* endemic species

** endemic genus

@ confined to EAA


Endemic previously recorded

on EAA


Endemic found on EAA in 2003

2003 record is new endemic or rediscovered fossil

2003 or 1995 record is of non-endemic new for island

Lygaeidae













* Nysius sanctaehelenae

x

x







Miridae













** Hirtopsallus suedae

x

x






















HOMOPTERA













Cicadellidae













Balclutha saltuella










x
















PSOCOPTERA













Peripsocidae













* Peripsocus leleupi




x







Trogiidae













@** Trogiidae new genus




x

x



















COLEOPTERA













Anobiidae













* Xyletomerus insulanus

x

x







Anthicidae













** Anthicodes fragilis

x

x







Anthribidae













** Homoeodera alutaceicollis

x

x







** Homoeodera coriacea

x

x







@** Homoeodera longefasciata

x

x







** Homoeodera pumilio

x










@** Homoeodera scolytoides

x

x







Carabidae













** Aplothorax burchelli

x










* Harpalus prosperus

x










* Harpalus sanctaehelenae

x










Coccinellidae













* Scymnus helenae

x

x







Cryptophagidae













* Cryptophagus gracilipes

x










Curculionidae













** Acanthinomerus armatus

x

x







** Isotornus proximus

x

x







** Isotornus trituratus

x










** Microxylobius lucifugus




x







** Microxylobius westwoodi

x

x







@** Xestophasis xerophilus

x










Elateridae













@* Anchastus compositarum

x

x







Lathridiidae













Adistemia watsoni










x



Species name


* endemic species

** endemic genus

@ confined to EAA


Endemic previously recorded

on EAA


Endemic found on EAA in 2003

2003 record is new endemic or rediscovered fossil

2003 or 1995 record is of non-endemic new for island

Scarabaeidae













** Mellissius adumbratus

x

x







@** Mellissius oryctoides

x

x (dead)







Tenebrionidae













@** Helenomelas basilewskyi

x










Hemasodes batesi










x

** Pseudoleichenum benoiti

x

x







@** Tarphiophasis decellei

x

x







@** Tarphiophasis insulanus

x

x







** Tarphiophasis leleupi

x

x







@** Tarphiophasis wollastoni

x

























HYMENOPTERA













Bethylidae













* Holepyris atlanticus

x

?







@* Sclerodermus insularis

x










@* Sclerodermus sanctaehelenae

x










Eupelmidae













?* Charitopodinus species

x










Ichneumonidae













* Netelia insulicola




x







@ ?** Ichneumonidae new genus

x










Scelionidae













* Macroteleia gracilicornis

x










Sphecidae













* Pison wollastoni

x

?







Podalonia canescens










x

?@ ?* Sphecidae: Larrini species




x

?



















LEPIDOPTERA













Geometridae













* Scopula separata




x







Noctuidae













* Cardepia subvelata




x







Pterophoridae













* Agdistis sanctaehelenae




x







Tineidae













@ ?* Tineidae species wingless




x

x



















DIPTERA













Calliphoridae













Sarcophaga redux










x

Ephydridae













?@ ?* Psilopa species




x

?




Muscidae













* Limnophora helenae

x

x









Species name


* endemic species

** endemic genus

@ confined to EAA


Endemic previously recorded

on EAA


Endemic found on EAA in 2003

2003 record is new endemic or rediscovered fossil

2003 or 1995 record is of non-endemic new for island

Phoridae













Megaselia curtineura




x




x

Scenopinidae













?@ ?* Scenopinus species




x

?




Sciaridae













Lycoriella species










x

Tachinidae













@** Atlantomyia nitida

x

x













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