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Open AccessArticle

Fine-Scale Vegetation Characteristics Drive Insect Ensemble Structures in a Desert Ecosystem: The Tenebrionid Beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) Inhabiting the Ulan Buh Desert (Inner Mongolia, China)

1
Institute of Life Sciences and Green Development, College of Life Sciences, Hebei University, Baoding 071002, Hebei, China
2
Museum of Hebei University, Baoding 071002, Hebei, China
3
Via Principe Amedeo 175, 00185 Rome, Italy
4
Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L’Aquila, Via Vetoio, Coppito, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(7), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070410
Received: 27 May 2020 / Revised: 26 June 2020 / Accepted: 30 June 2020 / Published: 2 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
In community ecology, ensembles are defined as phylogenetically bounded groups of species that use a similar set of resources within a community. Tenebrionids are a conspicuous faunal component of Asian deserts, but little is known about their community ecology. We investigated if tenebrionids associated with different plant species constitute ensembles with a different ecological structure. Sampling was done with pitfall traps placed beneath the most common plant species. Tenebrionid abundance patterns were modelled by fitting rank–abundance plots. The association between tenebrionid species and plant species was tested using contingency tables. Differences in ensemble diversity were investigated by diversity profiles. All ensembles were fitted by the geometric series model. Tenebrionid species were differently associated with different plant species. Diversity profiles indicate that different ensembles have different diversity patterns, because of differences in species relative abundance. Tenebrionids form different ensembles associated with the different dominant plant species. All these ensembles are, however, characterized by similar patterns of dominance, following the “niche pre-emption” model, and a steep decline in the diversity profiles. This indicates that similar environmental conditions lead to similar insect ensemble organization, although the most abundant species may vary, which suggests a role for microhabitat selection. View Full-Text
Keywords: arid ecosystems; Asia; community ecology; diversity; Gobi Desert arid ecosystems; Asia; community ecology; diversity; Gobi Desert
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MDPI and ACS Style

Niu, Y.; Ren, G.; Lin, G.; Di Biase, L.; Fattorini, S. Fine-Scale Vegetation Characteristics Drive Insect Ensemble Structures in a Desert Ecosystem: The Tenebrionid Beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) Inhabiting the Ulan Buh Desert (Inner Mongolia, China). Insects 2020, 11, 410. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070410

AMA Style

Niu Y, Ren G, Lin G, Di Biase L, Fattorini S. Fine-Scale Vegetation Characteristics Drive Insect Ensemble Structures in a Desert Ecosystem: The Tenebrionid Beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) Inhabiting the Ulan Buh Desert (Inner Mongolia, China). Insects. 2020; 11(7):410. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070410

Chicago/Turabian Style

Niu, Yiping; Ren, Guodong; Lin, Giulia; Di Biase, Letizia; Fattorini, Simone. 2020. "Fine-Scale Vegetation Characteristics Drive Insect Ensemble Structures in a Desert Ecosystem: The Tenebrionid Beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) Inhabiting the Ulan Buh Desert (Inner Mongolia, China)" Insects 11, no. 7: 410. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070410

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