The Scotia Arc comprises South Georgia, South Sandwich, South Orkney and South Shetland Islands together with the Antarctic Peninsula. Free-living Acari of the Scotia Arc contain immigrant and endemic elements. Transport of immigrant species to and within the Maritime Antarctic has been via Holocene storms and ocean currents. Most immigrants are Gamasida, Oribatida and Acaridida while Actinedida dominate the endemic element. Immigrant species on South Georgia share common ‘sub-Antarctic’ affinities with South Indian and, to a lesser extent, South Pacific Ocean island faunas. In contrast, immigrants to the rest of the Scotia Arc and Bouvetøya on the mid-Atlantic Ridge, form a robust ‘Maritime Antarctic’ Province group. The endemic component is of largely Tertiary origin and, like that of Continental Antarctica, dominated by a few cosmopolitan families and genera of Actinedida. There are no bona fide pan-Antarctic species and little evidence that Continental and Maritime Antarctic faunas have a common ancestry, indeed the Continental endemic fauna is entirely montane while that of Maritime Antarctica is coastal. The presence of common Maritime Antarctic/South Pacific island genera corroborate the Antarctic Peninsula as being derived from a South Pacific island archipelago which collided with Continental Antarctica during the Tertiary period.
Authors: Pugh, Philip J. A., Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey