Understanding seasonal changes in invertebrate populations is important for understanding ecosystem processes and for conservation of invertebrate communities. Few studies have investigated variation in seasonal responses of multiorder and multispecies invertebrate assemblages. To determine whether temporal patterns in invertebrate assemblages and taxa vary between locations and vegetation age since burning, patterns of invertebrate occurrence were investigated monthly for 12 mo in cool temperate buttongrass moorlands at two locations (lowland and montane) containing paired plots with different fire history (young and old regrowth). For both locations and fire-ages, invertebrate taxon richness and abundance were generally higher during the warmer months than during the winter months. At the lowland location, foliage dwelling invertebrates were caught in greater numbers during winter than during summer owing to large numbers of Collembola. Each season had a distinct invertebrate assemblage. The invertebrate assemblages did not differ between young and old regrowth. The shifts in composition of monthly invertebrate assemblages between winter and summer differed between locations with assemblages in cooler months more dissimilar from warmer months at the montane location than the lowland location. Most taxa common to both locations had similar patterns of monthly occurrence but some taxa showed markedly different patterns. Mid- to late summer is the optimum time to conduct short-term surveys in buttongrass moorland to maximize species richness and abundance but short-term studies will miss significant components of the invertebrate community.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1