Special Issue "Biodiversity of Insect"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Paolo Solari

Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Italy
Interests: insect and crustacean physiology; taste and olfaction; transduction mechanisms of chemosensory systems; chemicals of feeding and reproductive significance; electrophysiology; behavior; biodiversity; alien species; pest management
Dr. Giorgia Sollai

Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Physiology, University of Cagliari, Italy
Interests: chemosensory physiology in humans and insects; taste perception; olfactory perception; human inter-individual variability in odor discrimination and identification; diversity in human perception of odor-active compounds; Gas Chromatography-Olfactometry tecnique; human and insects genetic variability in chemosensory perception; insect–host plant interaction; electrophysiological recordings; chemosensory input and behavioral output; chemoperception and food choices; biodiversity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biodiversity refers to the existence of a wide variety of plant and animal species living in their natural environment. In this respect, insects represent one of the greatest examples of biodiversity in the animal kingdom. This variability is due to the specificity of the genetic, morphological, and functional aspects that the different species evolve in order to adapt to the ecological niches where they live.

Insects are often referred to as familiar pests or disease carriers influencing agriculture, human health, and natural resources. Many insects, however, are beneficial from a human viewpoint; they pollinate plants, produce useful substances, control pest insects, act as scavengers, and serve as food for other animals. Furthermore, given their great biodiversity, insects are valuable objects of study in biology and ecology. In fact, a large amount of scientific knowledge in genetics has been obtained from fruit fly experiments and population biology from flour beetle studies. Insects are often used in investigations of hormonal action, nerve and sense organ functions, and many other physiological processes. Finally, they are also used as environmental quality indicators.

This Special Issue provides a platform to highlight new research and significant advances in understanding the genetic and morpho-functional aspects characterizing the great level of biodiversity in insects.

Dr. Paolo Solari
Dr. Giorgia Sollai
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Insect biodiversity
  • Genetic and morpho-functional diversity
  • Ecology and regional diversity
  • Economic evaluation
  • Evolutionary aspects
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Diversity threats

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Threats Posed to the Rediscovered and Rare Salvia ceratophylloides Ard. (Lamiaceae) by Borer and Seed Feeder Insect Species
Diversity 2021, 13(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13010033 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 333
Abstract
The effects of herbivorous insects on a plant population are not always well tolerated. This is especially true if the herbivorous actions are directed toward rare plant species. Salvia ceratophylloides Ard. is a rare endemism of southern Italy. Observations of the plants in [...] Read more.
The effects of herbivorous insects on a plant population are not always well tolerated. This is especially true if the herbivorous actions are directed toward rare plant species. Salvia ceratophylloides Ard. is a rare endemism of southern Italy. Observations of the plants in situ revealed that many of them were under severe stress and did not produce seeds. Therefore, to find out which factors affect the reproductive activity as a whole, an observational study was carried out. We found bottom-up and top-down effects on plant health and reproduction associated with herbivorous action. Squamapion elongatum (Coleoptera, Curculionoidea, Apionidae), in all monitored sites, infested plants non-uniformly but was able to threaten the health condition, flowering, and seed production of sage by digging tunnels into the sage branches (bottom-up action), and then secondarily by seed feeder Systole salvia Zerova (Hymenoptera, Eurytomidae) predating sage seeds (top-down action). Mainly, chalcid parasitoid wasps such as Trichomalus spp. (Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae), as well as Eupelmus vesicularis and E. muellneri (Hymenoptera, Eupelmidae), limited the herbivorous S. elongatum population and the seed herbivore S. salviae emerged with its parasitoid Ormyrus diffinis (Hymenoptera, Ormyridae). Overall, this study showed how ecological interactions among herbivores, their host, and their natural enemies act on this sage species in all sites investigated. Among the herbivores, mainly S. elongatum affected this rare sage species, which should be taken into consideration, especially in the formulation of biological control solutions and for improving operating practice aimed at reproducing the species. This study provides the molecular characterization of the herbivorous species involved, in order to support future projects to evaluate the intra- and interspecific genetic variability of insects, their evolutionary relationships, and phylogeny studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Temperature Rise on Multi-Taxa Distributions in Mountain Ecosystems
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060210 - 26 May 2020
Viewed by 859
Abstract
Mountain biodiversity is associated with rare and fragile biota that are highly sensitive to climate change. To estimate the vulnerability of biodiversity to temperature rise, long-term field data are crucial. Species distribution models are an essential tool, in particular for invertebrates, for which [...] Read more.
Mountain biodiversity is associated with rare and fragile biota that are highly sensitive to climate change. To estimate the vulnerability of biodiversity to temperature rise, long-term field data are crucial. Species distribution models are an essential tool, in particular for invertebrates, for which detailed information on spatial and temporal distributions is largely missing. We applied presence-only distribution models to field data obtained from a systematic survey of 5 taxa (birds, butterflies, carabids, spiders, staphylinids), monitored in the northwestern Italian Alps. We estimated the effects of a moderate temperature increase on the multi-taxa distributions. Only small changes in the overall biodiversity patterns emerged, but we observed significant differences between groups of species and along the altitudinal gradient. The effects of temperature increase could be more pronounced for spiders and butterflies, and particularly detrimental for high-altitude species. We observed significant changes in community composition and species richness, especially in the alpine belt, but a clear separation between vegetation levels was retained also in the warming scenarios. Our conservative approach suggests that even a moderate temperature increase (about 1 °C) could influence animal biodiversity in mountain ecosystems: only long-term field data can provide the information to improve quantitative predictions, allowing us to readily identify the most informative signals of forthcoming changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessArticle
Differences in the Olfactory Sensitivity of Ceratitis capitata to Headspace of Some Host Plants in Relation to Sex, Mating Condition and Population
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050207 - 24 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 614
Abstract
The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata Wied., is among the most serious pests in horticulture worldwide, due to its high reproductive potential, difficulty of control and broad polyphagy. The aim of this study was to measure—by means of the electroantennogram recordings— the antennal [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata Wied., is among the most serious pests in horticulture worldwide, due to its high reproductive potential, difficulty of control and broad polyphagy. The aim of this study was to measure—by means of the electroantennogram recordings— the antennal olfactory sensitivity of virgin, mated, male, female, lab-reared and wild C. capitata following stimulation with fruit and leaf headspace of some host-plants: clementine, orange, prickly pear, lemon and apple. The results show that: (a) lab-reared mated males are more sensitive to host-plant fruit and leaf headspace than females, while the opposite was true for wild insects; (b) antennae of wild virgin males were more sensitive than the mated ones, while no difference was observed among lab-reared medflies; (c) lab-reared virgin females were more sensitive than mated ones, while few differences were found within wild medflies; (d) in mated insects, lab-reared males were more sensitive to both host-plant fruits and leaves than the wild ones, while the opposite was found for females. Taken together, these results show that the olfactory sensitivity to host-plant odors differs between virgin and mated and lab-reared and wild flies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessArticle
Diversity and Distribution Patterns of Geometrid Moths (Geometridae, Lepidoptera) in Mongolia
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050186 - 11 May 2020
Viewed by 1160
Abstract
Geometrids are a species-rich group of moths that serve as reliable indicators for environmental changes. Little is known about the Mongolian moth fauna, and there is no comprehensive review of species richness, diversity, and distribution patterns of geometrid moths in the country. Our [...] Read more.
Geometrids are a species-rich group of moths that serve as reliable indicators for environmental changes. Little is known about the Mongolian moth fauna, and there is no comprehensive review of species richness, diversity, and distribution patterns of geometrid moths in the country. Our study aims to review the existing knowledge on geometrid moths in Mongolia. We compiled geometrid moth records from published scientific papers, our own research, and from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to produce a checklist of geometrid moths of Mongolia. Additionally, we analyzed spatial patterns, species richness, and diversity of geometrid moths within 14 ecoregions of Mongolia and evaluated environmental variables for their distribution. In total, we compiled 1973-point records of 388 geometrid species. The most species-rich ecoregion in Mongolia was Daurian Forest Steppe with 142 species. Annual precipitation and maximum temperature of the warmest month were the most important environmental variables that correlated with NMDS axes in an analysis of geometrid assemblages of different ecoregions in Mongolia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessArticle
The Afro–Oriental Genus Yaeprimus Sasa et Suzuki (Diptera: Chironomidae: Chironomini): Phylogeny, New Species and Expanded Diagnoses
Diversity 2020, 12(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12010031 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 639
Abstract
Expanded generic diagnoses of all life stages of Yaeprimus Sasa et Suzuki, 2000 (Lunditendipes Harrison, 2000, syn. n.) are given. Yaeprimus tropicus comb. n. is redescribed as an adult based on type material. Additionally, a new species Y. balteatus sp. n. [...] Read more.
Expanded generic diagnoses of all life stages of Yaeprimus Sasa et Suzuki, 2000 (Lunditendipes Harrison, 2000, syn. n.) are given. Yaeprimus tropicus comb. n. is redescribed as an adult based on type material. Additionally, a new species Y. balteatus sp. n. from Oriental China is described based on the adult male and pupa. The phylogenetic position of Yaeprimus within Chironomini and the validity of the new species are explored based on concatenated five genetic markers (18S, 28S, CAD1, CAD4, and COI-3P) through both mixed–model Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood methods. The results strongly support Yaeprimus as sister to Imparipecten Freeman, 1961, which counters a previously proposed systematical position based solely on morphology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessArticle
Continuous Agrochemical Treatments in Agroecosystems Can Modify the Effects of Pendimethalin-Based Herbicide Exposure on Immunocompetence of a Beneficial Ground Beetle
Diversity 2019, 11(12), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11120241 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 683
Abstract
Herbicide application for pest control can negatively affect soil biodiversity, mainly acting on species that are involved in ecosystem service. In this study, field and laboratory trials were designed to assay herbicide exposure effects on the constitutive immunity of Harpalus (Pseudoophonus) rufipes (De [...] Read more.
Herbicide application for pest control can negatively affect soil biodiversity, mainly acting on species that are involved in ecosystem service. In this study, field and laboratory trials were designed to assay herbicide exposure effects on the constitutive immunity of Harpalus (Pseudoophonus) rufipes (De Geer, 1774), a beneficial carabid species that inhabits croplands. The circulating hemocytes (THCs) and plasmatic levels of basal and total phenoloxidase (PO), as well as lysozyme-like enzyme activities, were measured as markers of exposure. In laboratory tests, the exposure to realistic field doses of pendimethalin-based herbicides for two, seven and 21 days caused a reduction in enzyme activities in beetles from organic crops. In beetles from conventional fields, the THCs and total PO activity decreased significantly at two and seven days after the initial exposure, though no effects were recorded on basal PO and lysozyme like-enzyme activities. These differences in enzyme activities and THCs indicate that the interference of pendimethalin with immune parameters clearly depends on both the different field conditions from which the population comes and the cumulative effects of repeated applications over the time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessArticle
Nuclear Orthologs Derived from Whole Genome Sequencing Indicate Cryptic Diversity in the Bemisia tabaci (Insecta: Aleyrodidae) Complex of Whiteflies
Diversity 2019, 11(9), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11090151 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1454
Abstract
The Bemisia tabaci complex of whiteflies contains globally important pests thought to contain cryptic species corresponding to geographically structured phylogenetic clades. Although mostly morphologically indistinguishable, differences have been shown to exist among populations in behavior, plant virus vector capacity, ability to hybridize, and [...] Read more.
The Bemisia tabaci complex of whiteflies contains globally important pests thought to contain cryptic species corresponding to geographically structured phylogenetic clades. Although mostly morphologically indistinguishable, differences have been shown to exist among populations in behavior, plant virus vector capacity, ability to hybridize, and DNA sequence divergence. These differences allow for certain populations to become invasive and cause great economic damage in a monoculture setting. Although high mitochondrial DNA divergences have been reported between putative conspecifics of the B. tabaci species complex, there is limited data that exists across the whole genome for this group. Using data from 2184 orthologs obtained from whole genome sequencing (Illumina), a phylogenetic analysis using maximum likelihood and coalescent methodologies was completed on ten individuals of the B. tabaci complex. In addition, automatic barcode gap discovery methods were employed, and results suggest the existence of five species. Although the divergences of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene are high among members of this complex, nuclear divergences are much lower in comparison. Single-copy orthologs from whole genome sequencing demonstrate divergent population structures among members of the B. tabaci complex and the sequences provide an important resource to aid in future genomic studies of the group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessArticle
The Prevalence of Single-Specimen/Locality Species in Insect Taxonomy: An Empirical Analysis
Diversity 2019, 11(7), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11070106 - 06 Jul 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1587
Abstract
Although about two million species have been named, our knowledge about the biodiversity of many taxonomic groups remains inadequate and incomplete. There has been increased taxonomic effort for the discovery of more species and their geographical distribution information. During this process, species collected [...] Read more.
Although about two million species have been named, our knowledge about the biodiversity of many taxonomic groups remains inadequate and incomplete. There has been increased taxonomic effort for the discovery of more species and their geographical distribution information. During this process, species collected only from a single specimen/locality often appear. However, there are very few empirical data available to understand the current situation of single specimen/locality species in insect taxonomy. In this paper, we collected 1261 articles containing 4811 insect species from ZooKeys between 2009 and 2017, and we extracted data, including the publication date, number of specimens/locality, and DNA usage. Our analyses demonstrated that 21.53% and 21.74% of new species were described from only one specimen and one locality, respectively, and approximately half of all new species were published based on fewer than five specimens. Meanwhile, the rate of single-specimen species in papers with or without DNA data was 15.06% and 23.43%, respectively, which indicates that incorporating DNA data in species descriptions might effectively decrease the occurrence of single-specimen species. We suggest that taxonomists should adopt more beneficial practices, such as increasing specimen diversity, incorporating DNA data, and improving international collaboration, in the description of new species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Significance of Apoidea as Main Pollinators. Ecological and Economic Impact and Implications for Human Nutrition
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070280 - 15 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Wild and managed bees provide pollination services to crops and wild plants, as well as a variety of other services beneficial to humans. Honey bees are the most economically valuable pollinator worldwide. It has been calculated that 9.5% of the total economic value [...] Read more.
Wild and managed bees provide pollination services to crops and wild plants, as well as a variety of other services beneficial to humans. Honey bees are the most economically valuable pollinator worldwide. It has been calculated that 9.5% of the total economic value of agricultural production comes from insect pollination, thus amounting to just under USD 200 billion globally. More than 100 important crops depend on pollination by honey bees. The latter pollinate not only a wide number of commercial crops but also many wild plants, some of which are threatened by extinction and constitute a valuable genetic resource. Moreover, as pollinators, honey bees play a significant role in every aspect of the ecosystem by facilitating the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants that serve as food and shelter for many large and small creatures. In this paper, we describe how the reduction in honey bee populations affects various economic sectors, as well as human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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