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Mount Donna Buang Wingless Stonefly Habitat, Donna Buang Rd, Warburton, VIC, Australia

Photographs None
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Natural
Legal Status Indicative Place
Place ID 18896
Place File No 2/16/297/0008
Nominator's Statement of Significance
The nominated area supports a rare and endangered invertebrate species, RIEKOPERLA DARLINGTONI, which is of considerable importance in the study of Australian PLECEPTERA and evolutionary strategies in invertebrates.
Official Values Not Available
Mount Donna Buang is a mountain peak in the Victorian Central Highlands. It lies in one of the oldest and highest areas of dissected Palaeozoic rocks (formed approximately 500 million years ago) in the Central Highlands of Victoria. The area is a popular tourist attraction throughout the year and the summit is a Scenic Reserve. The area providing habitat for the stonefly supports tall sclerophyll forest dominated by alpine ash (EUCALYPTUS DELEGATENSIS) with myrtle beech (NOTHOFAGUS CUNNINGHAMI) as a dominant understory tree species. The surrounding forest is dominated by mountain ash (E REGNANS). The small brown, wingless stonefly (RIEKOPERLA DARLINGTONI), is one of the only two wingless stoneflies in Australia. The species was first collected by Darlington in 1931 from the Mount Donna Buang area. A distinguishing feature of the species is its long antennae (up to 100% of its body length). It apparently occurs only in the area within a 1km radius of the summit of Mount Donna Buang, particularly on the southern slopes and is restricted to the small temporal streams which flow through forest dominated by alpine ash. The adult stonefly lives within rolled pieces of alpine ash bark suspended in low vegetation along natural drainage courses and in the vicinity of streams. The aquatic nymphs live under stones and in silty gravel in the drainage lines. Of particular scientific interest is the species' ability to survive the annual drying of its habitat, both in the egg stage and by burrowing down to a damper level and its seasonal flexibility in growth and emergence times, which enhances survival during the extremes of climate experienced on mountain tops. The species has not been discovered in other similar areas despite deliberate searches.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
The area retains much of its original vegetation but disturbance has resulted from logging, and tourist activities including sightseeing, skiing and the construction of facilities. (Late 1991)
About 315ha, 5km north north west of Warburton, comprising the area in a 1km radius from the summit of Mount Donna Buang.
Baker-Gabb, D. (In Prep.). List of the Threatened Fauna in Victoria in 1990. Wildlife Management Branch, Department of Conservation and Environment.
Duncan, J.S. (Ed.) (1982). Atlas of Victoria. Victorian Government, Melbourne.
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Hynes, H.B.N. and Hynes, M.E. (1975). The life histories of many stoneflies (Plecoptera) of south-eastern mainland Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwater Res. 26: 113-153.
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Neumann, F.G. and Morely, J.L. (1984). A Study of the Rare Wingless Stonefly RIEKOPERLA DARLINGTONI (Illies), Near Mt Donna Buang, Victoria. Forests Commission of Victoria Res. Branch Report, No 253.
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Report Produced  Mon Jul 14 17:44:24 2014