Very small islands, on the order of a few hundred square metres in area, have rarely been the focus of ecological investigations. I sampled nine such islands in the central Exumas, Bahamas for arthropod species abundance and diversity using a combination of pitfall traps, pan traps and sticky traps. Three islands had no terrestrial vegetation, three islands contained only Sesuvium portulacastrum L., a salt-tolerant perennial that had been experimentally introduced 10 years ago, and three islands supported one or two naturally occurring plant species. A relatively diverse arthropod assemblage was discovered, including representatives of 10 different orders of Crustacea and Insecta. Land hermit crabs were the most abundant crustaceans, and dipterans were the most abundant and speciose insects. Two of the most common insects were previously undescribed species. Measures of arthropod species abundance and diversity were not significantly different for vegetated vs. non-vegetated islands. All 10 orders were present on bare islands, and nine of them were present on vegetated islands. Measures of arthropod species abundance and diversity were positively associated with island area, and negatively associated with distance from the nearest large island. Hypothesized food webs consist of several trophic levels and have strong allochthonous inputs. Tiny islands such as these hold insights into early successional processes and the base of insular food webs.Ltd.



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© 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. This article has since been made an open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Allochthonous, Arthropod diversity, Bahamas, Food webs, Island biogeography

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Diversity and Distributions