The University of Melbourne

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We conducted 36 translocations of 1851 individuals of the generalist, flightless grasshopper Vandiemenella viatica across urban Melbourne, where 93% of its original habitat has been lost. We aimed to understand characteristics essential for grasshopper persistence and to investigate detection, dispersal, and habitat suitability throughout its active period, providing a roadmap to improve insect translocation success in urban settings using revegetated sites and small remnant habitats. We also measured movement and detection probability after one week in short-term trials. Grasshopper sex and colour morph did not influence the probability of detection. There was no evidence of directional movement by females and males in one-week short-term trials nor the F1 generation one year after translocation when grasshoppers were found in 28 out of 36 translocated sites. We found a significant effect of ground temperature on detection probability only in Winter surveys. Abundance and presence/absence data were best explained by graminoid cover and number of plant species. Our findings suggest that wingless grasshopper translocations in small suitable habitat patches in urban areas are feasible, allowing low-vagility invertebrates to restore biodiversity and ecological services.


HY was funded by Melbourne Research Scholarship from the University of Melbourne. MRK and AAH received funding from the Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant DP190100990, the Victorian Department of Land, Water and Planning, and the Melbourne City Council.


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