Topical Collection "Insects in Mountain Ecosystems"

Editors

Dr. Roberto Pizzolotto
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Biologia, Ecologia, Scienze della Terra, Università della Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
Interests: species diversity; alpine ecology; climate change; carabid beetles
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Mauro Gobbi
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Section of Invertebrate Zoology and Hydrobiology, MUSE-Science Museum of Trento, Trento, Italy
Interests: insect ecology; alpine ecology; high-altitude habitats
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The broad-scale features of mountain ecosystems are tied to the morphology of the relief because temperature variation with elevation is one of the main factors driving the adaptation of living organisms to mountain environments. Moreover the same elevation gradient at different latitudes and accompanied by local abiotic features, e.g., bedrock, soil, and climate, may trigger a particular set of evolution drivers, leading to the colonization of restricted mountain ranges by peculiar biota.

These and other features make mountains the ideal place to study altitude-for-latitude ecosystem variations, or even altitude-for-succession (i.e., time) gradients. Vegetation and soil layers are dominated by complex communities of invertebrates, even in the extreme environments of high altitudes, where the last chance of survival is given to species contracting their geographical range as a consequence of climate change.

Studies of mountain insects have focused on several subjects, including abundance relationships among species as well as zoogeography, phenotypic plasticity, man-made disturbance.

This Topical Collection will broadly address studies on insects in mountain ecosystems across all relevant disciplines, and, in this context, submissions in the form of reviews and original basic or applied research are welcome.

Dr. Roberto Pizzolotto
Dr. Mauro Gobbi
Collection 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 submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection 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. Insects 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

  • mountain ecosystems
  • extreme environments
  • zoogeography
  • altitudinal gradient

Published Papers (17 papers)

2022

Jump to: 2021, 2020

Article
Effects of Habitat Fragmentation on the Population Structure and Genetic Diversity of Erythroneurini in the Typical Karst Rocky Ecosystem, Southwest China
Insects 2022, 13(6), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13060499 - 26 May 2022
Viewed by 783
Abstract
Karst rocky desertification is one of the main causes of habitat fragmentation in Southwest China. Guizhou Province is located in the center of the karst area in southern China and is a typical karst ecological environment fragile area. Many studies have shown that [...] Read more.
Karst rocky desertification is one of the main causes of habitat fragmentation in Southwest China. Guizhou Province is located in the center of the karst area in southern China and is a typical karst ecological environment fragile area. Many studies have shown that habitat fragmentation is the main factor leading to the loss of biodiversity and species extinction, and it is also one of the important factors that threaten the survival of natural organisms. This study initially explored the habitat fragmentation degree, species diversity, and genetic diversity of leafhoppers in three typical karst areas in Guizhou. The study was combined with the general situation of the study area, understanding the main factors affecting habitat fragmentation, and putting forward reasonable protection suggestions for species resources. Based on satellite imagery, field survey collection, molecular sequencing data, and related index measurement methods, we measured the habitat fragmentation degree, species diversity index, and genetic diversity index of Erythroneurine leafhoppers of Shibing Yuntai Mountain Nature Reserve, Bijie Salaxi Demonstration Zone, Zhenfeng-Huajiang Demonstration Zone. Moreover, we compared the differences in the three study areas, carried out correlation analysis with relevant environmental factors, and discussed the main factors that formed the results. The results of the study show that the species diversity and genetic diversity of Erythroneurine leafhoppers in the study areas are affected by habitat fragmentation, and the weaker the degree of habitat fragmentation in the region, the higher the species diversity and genetic diversity, which is specifically manifested in species, quantity, and gene-flow. Understanding the status of biodiversity in karst areas is conducive to the sustainable development of biological resources. In order to better protect the diversity of such insects and their host plants and other biological diversity, combined with the background of the research area, we propose corresponding protection measures for reference. Full article
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Article
Different Distribution Patterns of Hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) and Bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) Along Altitudinal Gradients in Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park (Italy)
Insects 2022, 13(3), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030293 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1595
Abstract
Hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) and bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) are two key taxa for plant pollination. In the present research, the altitudinal distribution of these taxa was studied along two gradients (elevation range: 780–2130 m) in the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park (Northeastern Italy). Pan traps [...] Read more.
Hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) and bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) are two key taxa for plant pollination. In the present research, the altitudinal distribution of these taxa was studied along two gradients (elevation range: 780–2130 m) in the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park (Northeastern Italy). Pan traps were used as a sampling device to collect both hoverflies and bees. Other than altitude, the effect of landscape complexity and plant diversity were considered as potential predictors of hoverfly and bee richness and abundance along the two gradients. A total of 68 species of hoverflies and 67 of bees were collected during one sampling year, confirming the efficacy of pan traps as a sampling device to study these taxa. Altitude was the main variable affecting both hoverfly and bee distribution. The two taxa show different distribution patterns: hoverflies have a unimodal distribution (richness and abundance) with peak at middle altitude (1500 m), while bees have a monotonic decline (richness and abundance) with increasing altitude. Both hoverfly and bee populations change with the increasing altitude, but the change in hoverflies is more pronounced than in bees. Species turnover dominates the β-diversity both for hoverflies and bees; therefore, the hoverfly and bee communities at higher altitudes are not subsamples of species at lower altitude but are characterized by different species. This poses important conservation consequences. Some rare species, typical of an alpine habitat were recorded; the present research represents important baseline data to plan a monitoring scheme aimed at evaluating the effect of climate change on pollinators in these fragile habitats. Full article
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Article
The Early Season Community of Flower-Visiting Arthropods in a High-Altitude Alpine Environment
Insects 2022, 13(4), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13040393 - 16 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1780
Abstract
In mountain ecosystems, climate change can cause spatiotemporal shifts, impacting the composition of communities and altering fundamental biotic interactions, such as those involving flower-visiting arthropods. On of the main problems in assessing the effects of climate change on arthropods in these environments is [...] Read more.
In mountain ecosystems, climate change can cause spatiotemporal shifts, impacting the composition of communities and altering fundamental biotic interactions, such as those involving flower-visiting arthropods. On of the main problems in assessing the effects of climate change on arthropods in these environments is the lack of baseline data. In particular, the arthropod communities on early flowering high-altitude plants are poorly investigated, although the early season is a critical moment for possible mismatches. In this study, we characterised the flower-visiting arthropod community on the early flowering high-altitude Alpine plant, Androsace brevis (Primulaceae). In addition, we tested the effect of abiotic factors (temperature and wind speed) and other variables (time, i.e., hour of the day, and number of flowers per plant) on the occurrence, abundance, and diversity of this community. A. brevis is a vulnerable endemic species growing in the Central Alps above 2000 m asl and flowering for a very short period immediately after snowmelt, thus representing a possible focal plant for arthropods in this particular moment of the season. Diptera and Hymenoptera were the main flower visitors, and three major features of the community emerged: an evident predominance of anthomyiid flies among Diptera, a rare presence of bees, and a relevant share of parasitoid wasps. Temperature and time (hour of the day), but not wind speed and number of flowers per plant, affected the flower visitors’ activity. Our study contributes to (1) defining the composition of high-altitude Alpine flower-visiting arthropod communities in the early season, (2) establishing how these communities are affected by environmental variables, and (3) setting the stage for future evaluation of climate change effects on flower-visiting arthropods in high-altitude environments in the early season. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2022, 2020

Article
Biodiversity and Spatiotemporal Variation of Longhorn Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) in Tropical Forest of Thailand
Insects 2021, 12(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12010045 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1648
Abstract
Longhorn beetles are highly diversified and important for agriculture and health of the environment. However, the fauna and ecology of these beetles are not well known in Thailand. This study is the first to report the biodiversity, elevation, and seasonal distribution of longhorn [...] Read more.
Longhorn beetles are highly diversified and important for agriculture and health of the environment. However, the fauna and ecology of these beetles are not well known in Thailand. This study is the first to report the biodiversity, elevation, and seasonal distribution of longhorn beetles. Specimens were collected by malaise traps from 41 localities in 24 national parks throughout the country during 2006–2009. The traps were operated at each site for 12 consecutive months with a monthly service. A total of 199 morphotaxa in 36 tribes of 6 subfamilies were identified from 1376 specimens. Of these, 40.7% and 14.5% of total taxa were singletons and doubletons, respectively. The Shannon diversity index and observed species richness at Panernthung, Loei Forest Unit and Mae Fang Hotspring were high at 0.96 (30), 0.88 (50), and 0.86 (34), respectively. Local richness ranged between 3 and 50 species, while the species richness estimator showed between 6 and 1275 species. The most relatively abundant species, Nupserha lenita, Pterolophia sp.1, Oberea sp.3, Acalolepta pseudospeciosa, and Ac. rustricatrix represented 4.80%, 4.80%, 4.80%, 4.5%, and 4.43% of the species, respectively. The species with the widest distribution range of percentage of species occurrence (% SO) was Pt. sp.1 (63.4%), followed by Ac. rustricatrix (39%) and Moechotypa suffusa (39%). In a significantly negative relationship between species richness and elevation (p > 0.05, R2 = 0.04), the species richness pattern showed a hump-shaped curve that peaked at the middle elevation (501–1000 m asl). Regarding seasonal variation, most of the species occurred during the hot season (March–April) and peaked in early rainy season (May), while a low number of species were found during the mid-rainy (June–October) and cold season (November–February). Ordination analysis indicated that the distribution of most species was associated with regions and forest type, and most of the species correlated with forest located at middle and low elevation. The results of this study indicated the very high biodiversity of longhorn beetles in Thailand, which suggests that an understanding of their seasonal and elevational distribution will be of value to agriculture management and conservation. They also indicated that malaise traps are appropriate for the evaluation of biodiversity. Full article
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Article
Insect Herbivore Populations and Plant Damage Increase at Higher Elevations
Insects 2021, 12(12), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12121129 - 17 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2264
Abstract
Elevation gradients are used as a proxy to simulate climate change effects. A field study was conducted along an elevational gradient in Nepal to understand the effects of abiotic conditions on agriculturally important insect herbivore populations (tobacco caterpillar: Spodoptera litura, tomato fruit [...] Read more.
Elevation gradients are used as a proxy to simulate climate change effects. A field study was conducted along an elevational gradient in Nepal to understand the effects of abiotic conditions on agriculturally important insect herbivore populations (tobacco caterpillar: Spodoptera litura, tomato fruit worm: Helicoverpa armigera, and South American leaf miner, Tuta absoluta) and herbivory damage on tomatoes. Elevation ranged from 100 m to 1400 m above sea level, representing different climatic zones where tomatoes are grown. Contrary to our hypothesis, natural herbivore populations and herbivory damage significantly increased at higher elevations. Individual insect species responses were variable. Populations of S. litura and T. absoluta increased at higher elevations, whereas the H. armigera population was highest at the mid-elevational range. Temperature variations with elevation also affected insect catch numbers and the level of plant damage from herbivory. In the context of climate warming, our results demonstrate that the interactive effects of elevation and climatic factors (e.g., temperature) will play an important role in determining the changes in insect pest populations and the extent of crop losses. Full article
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Article
What Are the Most Important Factors Influencing Springtail Tetrodontophora bielanensis?
Insects 2021, 12(10), 858; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12100858 - 23 Sep 2021
Viewed by 978
Abstract
The springtail, Tetrodontophora bielanensis, dwells in the litter and upper soil layers. This arthropod mainly inhabits humid litter and soil and prefers a cold climate. We determined the main factors influencing this springtail in forests at the landscape level in Krkonoše and [...] Read more.
The springtail, Tetrodontophora bielanensis, dwells in the litter and upper soil layers. This arthropod mainly inhabits humid litter and soil and prefers a cold climate. We determined the main factors influencing this springtail in forests at the landscape level in Krkonoše and site level in Orlické hory in the Czech Republic. We used passive trunk-tree traps. These traps are highly effective for sampling flightless fauna. We used 128 traps in Krkonoše and 17 traps in Orlické hory. The springtail was significantly positively influenced by the presence of Norway spruce (Picea abies) at the landscape level. Springtails’ abundance was, furthermore, influenced by the spatial distribution of the sampling sites. The negative influence of bark coverage and the presence of fungi, and positive influence of an increasing dimension of trees were significant at the site level. We argue for a more diversified management of mountainous forests with respect to forest history. This appears to be also important for mountainous forests in protected areas. Full article
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Article
Distributional Patterns of Aquatic Empididae (Diptera) along an Elevational Diversity Gradient in a Low Mountain Range: An Example from Central Europe
Insects 2021, 12(2), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020165 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1368
Abstract
The two subfamilies Hemerodromiinae and Clinocerinae, also known as aquatic dance flies, are a group of small predatory insects occurring mainly in mountainous areas and the northern temperate. However, very little is known about distribution patterns for most of the species. Habitat preferences [...] Read more.
The two subfamilies Hemerodromiinae and Clinocerinae, also known as aquatic dance flies, are a group of small predatory insects occurring mainly in mountainous areas and the northern temperate. However, very little is known about distribution patterns for most of the species. Habitat preferences for 40 aquatic empidid species were analysed in the Pieniny Mts., Poland. Forty-six sampling sites from a major part of this relatively low mountain massif (400–770 m) were chosen, for which 17 micro and macrohabitat environmental variables were measured including both abiotic (altitude, stream mean width and depth, and shading) and biotic factors (13 dominant plant communities). Here we show that numerous studied aquatic Empididae were characterized by unique habitat preferences and were restricted to the foothills or the lower montane zone with only a few species characterized by wider elevational distribution. Chelifera pectinicauda, C. flavella, C. subangusta and Phyllodromia melanocephala (Hemerodromiinae), and Clinocera appendiculata, C. fontinalis, C. wesmaeli, Dolichocephala guttata, D. oblongoguttata, Kowarzia plectrum, Wiedemannia jazdzewskii, and W. thienemanni (Clinocerinae) were clearly associated with the highest altitudes and shaded areas while W. bistigma, W. lamellata, W. phantasma, and W. tricuspidata (Clinocerinae) were clearly associated with the lower elevated, wider stream valleys overgrown by willow brakes. Species richness and diversity decreased along elevational gradient with the hump-shaped diversity pattern noted for the subfamily Clinocerinae. The altitude, size of river/stream as well as the type of plant community were found as the most important factors in the distribution of the studied aquatic empidid species. The present study is the first one focused on elevational diversity gradient and habitat preferences of Hemerodromiinae and Clinocerinae of central Europe, and one of only a few in the world. Full article
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Article
Diversity Patterns of Dung Beetles along a Mediterranean Elevational Gradient
Insects 2021, 12(9), 781; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12090781 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1996
Abstract
Most studies of biodiversity–elevational patterns do not take species abundance into consideration. Hill numbers are a unified family of indices that use species abundance and allow a complete characterization of species assemblages through diversity profiles. Studies on dung beetle responses to elevation were [...] Read more.
Most studies of biodiversity–elevational patterns do not take species abundance into consideration. Hill numbers are a unified family of indices that use species abundance and allow a complete characterization of species assemblages through diversity profiles. Studies on dung beetle responses to elevation were essentially based on species richness and produced inconsistent results because of the non-distinction between different habitats and the use of gradients dispersed over wide areas. We analyzed dung beetle diversity in a Mediterranean mountain (central Italy) for different habitats (woodlands vs. grasslands) and taxonomic groups (scarabaeids and aphodiids). Scarabaeids were the most abundant. Since scarabaeids are able to construct subterranean nests, this indicates that the warm and dry summer climatic conditions of high elevations favor species capable of protecting their larvae from desiccation. Dung beetles were more abundant and diversified in grasslands than in woodlands, which is consistent with their preference for open habitats. In the woodlands, diversity increased with increasing elevation because of increasing tree thinning, whereas, in the grasslands, diversity decreased with elevation because of increasingly harsher environmental conditions. These results indicate a trade-off in the beetle response to elevation between the positive effects of increasing the availability of more suitable habitats and the decrease of optimal environmental conditions. Full article
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Article
Community Structure, Biodiversity and Spatiotemporal Distribution of the Black Flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) Using Malaise Traps on the Highest Mountain in Thailand
Insects 2021, 12(6), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060504 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2061
Abstract
Black flies form a group of small blood-sucking insects of medical and veterinary importance. This study aimed to investigate the community structure, biodiversity and spatial and temporal distribution of adult black flies in tropical rain forests, by using malaise traps in Doi Inthanon [...] Read more.
Black flies form a group of small blood-sucking insects of medical and veterinary importance. This study aimed to investigate the community structure, biodiversity and spatial and temporal distribution of adult black flies in tropical rain forests, by using malaise traps in Doi Inthanon National Park, northern Thailand. Malaise traps were placed along six elevational gradients (400 m to 2500 m, above sea level) at Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai province, from December 2013 to November 2014. A total of 9406 adult female black flies belonging to five subgenera—Daviesellum (2%), Gomphostilbia (23%), Montisimulium (11%), Nevermannia (16%) and Simulium (48%)—were collected. Among 44 taxa found, S. tenebrosum complex had the highest relative abundance (11.1%), followed by the S. asakoae species-group (9.6%), the S. striatum species-group (7.7%), S. inthanonense (6.6%), S. doipuiense complex (6.4%), S. chomthongense complex (5.3%), S. chumpornense (5.1%) and S. nigrogilvum (4.1%). Two human-biting species—S. nigrogilvum and species in the S. asakoae species-group—were found in all of the collection sites with 100% species occurrence. Species richness was highest at mid elevation (1400 m), which is represented by 19 black fly species. The peak and lowest seasonal abundance was observed in the rainy and hot season, respectively. Seasonal species richness was highest in the cold season, except for that from elevation sites at 700 m, 1700 m and 2500 m. This study revealed that the malaise trap is effective in providing important data for further monitoring of the effects of environmental changes and conservation planning on the biodiversity of black flies in Doi Inthanon National Park. Full article
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Article
Changes in Alpine Butterfly Communities during the Last 40 Years
Insects 2022, 13(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010043 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1660
Abstract
Our work aims to assess how butterfly communities in the Italian Maritime Alps changed over the past 40 years, in parallel with altitudinal shifts occurring in plant communities. In 2019, we sampled butterflies at 7 grassland sites, between 1300–1900 m, previously investigated in [...] Read more.
Our work aims to assess how butterfly communities in the Italian Maritime Alps changed over the past 40 years, in parallel with altitudinal shifts occurring in plant communities. In 2019, we sampled butterflies at 7 grassland sites, between 1300–1900 m, previously investigated in 2009 and 1978, by semi-quantitative linear transects. Fine-scale temperature and precipitation data elaborated by optimal interpolation techniques were used to quantify climate changes. The changes in the vegetation cover and main habitat alterations were assessed by inspection of aerial photographs (1978–2018/1978–2006–2015). The vegetation structure showed a marked decrease of grassland habitats and an increase of woods (1978–2009). Plant physiognomy has remained stable in recent years (2009–2019) with some local exceptions due to geomorphic disturbance. We observed butterfly ‘species substitution’ indicating a general loss in the more specialised and a general gain in more tolerant elements. We did not observe any decrease in species richness, but rather a change in guild compositions, with (i) an overall increased abundance in some widespread and common lowland species and (ii) the disappearance (or strong decrease) of some alpine (high elevation) species, so that ‘resilience’ could be just delusive. Changes in butterfly community composition were consistent with predicted impacts of local warming. Full article
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Article
Relicts from Glacial Times: The Ground Beetle Pterostichus adstrictus Eschscholtz, 1823 (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in the Austrian Alps
Insects 2021, 12(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12010084 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2085
Abstract
The last ice age considerably influenced distribution patterns of extant species of plants and animals, with some of them now inhabiting disjunct areas in the subarctic/arctic and alpine regions. This arctic-alpine distribution is characteristic for many cold-adapted species with a limited dispersal ability [...] Read more.
The last ice age considerably influenced distribution patterns of extant species of plants and animals, with some of them now inhabiting disjunct areas in the subarctic/arctic and alpine regions. This arctic-alpine distribution is characteristic for many cold-adapted species with a limited dispersal ability and can be found in many invertebrate taxa, including ground beetles. The ground beetle Pterostichus adstrictus Eschscholtz, 1823 of the subgenus Bothriopterus was previously known to have a holarctic-circumpolar distribution, in Europe reaching its southern borders in Wales and southern Scandinavia. Here, we report the first findings of this species from the Austrian Ötztal Alps, representing also the southernmost edge of its currently known distribution, confirmed by the comparison of morphological characters to other Bothriopterus species and DNA barcoding data. Molecular data revealed a separation of the Austrian and Finish specimens with limited to no gene flow at all. Furthermore, we present the first data on habitat preference and seasonality of P. adstrictus in the Austrian Alps. Full article
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Article
Ant Diversity and Community Composition in Alpine Tree Line Ecotones
Insects 2021, 12(3), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12030219 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1739
Abstract
Ants are crucial for the functioning of many terrestrial ecosystems, but detailed knowledge of their ecological role is often lacking. This is true for high mountains where a steep environmental gradient exists from mountainous forest, densely populated by ants, to grassland habitats above [...] Read more.
Ants are crucial for the functioning of many terrestrial ecosystems, but detailed knowledge of their ecological role is often lacking. This is true for high mountains where a steep environmental gradient exists from mountainous forest, densely populated by ants, to grassland habitats above the tree line, harboring a sparse ant community. We assessed ant communities in and around the tree line ecotone on five slopes in the southern-central Alps, focusing on their species diversity, community composition, and functional dimensions. Species richness and functional diversity were highest directly at the ecotone. Ant community composition was shaped by elevation and shrub cover. Further, the abundance of the dominant mound-building red wood ants (Formica s. str.) influenced the community composition of the subordinate species. We conclude that over the tree line ecotone a shift in predominance from biotic limitations in the forest to abiotic filters in the alpine environment takes place. Full article
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Article
A Small-Scale Analysis of Elevational Species Richness and Beta Diversity Patterns of Arthropods on an Oceanic Island (Terceira, Azores)
Insects 2021, 12(10), 936; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12100936 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1193
Abstract
We present an analysis of arthropod diversity patterns in native forest communities along the small elevation gradient (0–1021 m a.s.l.) of Terceira island, Azores (Portugal). We analysed (1) how the alpha diversity of Azorean arthropods responds to increasing elevation and (2) differs between [...] Read more.
We present an analysis of arthropod diversity patterns in native forest communities along the small elevation gradient (0–1021 m a.s.l.) of Terceira island, Azores (Portugal). We analysed (1) how the alpha diversity of Azorean arthropods responds to increasing elevation and (2) differs between endemic, native non-endemic and introduced (alien) species, and (3) the contributions of species replacement and richness difference to beta diversity. Arthropods were sampled using SLAM traps between 2014 and 2018. We analysed species richness indicators, the Hill series and beta diversity partitioning (species replacement and species richness differences). Selected orders (Araneae, Coleoptera, Hemiptera and Psocoptera) and endemic, native non-endemic and introduced species were analysed separately. Total species richness shows a monotonic decrease with elevation for all species and Coleoptera and Psocoptera, but peaks at mid-high elevation for Araneae and endemic species. Introduced species richness decreases strongly with elevation especially. These patterns are most likely driven by climatic factors but also influenced by human disturbance. Beta diversity is, for most groups, the main component of total (gamma) diversity along the gradient but shows no relation with elevation. It results from a combined effect of richness decrease with elevation and species replacement in groups with many narrow-ranged species. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2022, 2021

Article
Manual Sampling and Video Observations: An Integrated Approach to Studying Flower-Visiting Arthropods in High-Mountain Environments
Insects 2020, 11(12), 881; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120881 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2734
Abstract
Despite the rising interest in biotic interactions in mountain ecosystems, little is known about high-altitude flower-visiting arthropods. In particular, since the research in these environment can be limited or undermined by harsh conditions and logistical difficulties, it is mandatory to develop effective approaches [...] Read more.
Despite the rising interest in biotic interactions in mountain ecosystems, little is known about high-altitude flower-visiting arthropods. In particular, since the research in these environment can be limited or undermined by harsh conditions and logistical difficulties, it is mandatory to develop effective approaches that maximize possibilities to gather high-quality data. Here we compared two different methods, manual sampling and video observations, to investigate the interactions between the high-mountain arthropod community and flowers of Androsace brevis (Primulaceae), a vulnerable endemic alpine species with a short flowering period occurring in early season. We manually sampled flower-visiting arthropods according to the timed-observations method and recorded their activity on video. We assessed differences and effectiveness of the two approaches to estimate flower-visiting arthropod diversity and to identify potential taxa involved in A. brevis pollination. Both methods proved to be effective and comparable in describing the diversity of flower visitors at a high taxonomic level. However, with manual sampling we were able to obtain a fine taxonomic resolution for sampled arthropods and to evaluate which taxa actually carry A. brevis pollen, while video observations were less invasive and allowed us to assess arthropod behavior and to spot rare taxa. By combining the data obtained with these two approaches we could accurately identify flower-visiting arthropods, characterize their behavior, and hypothesize a role of Hymenoptera Apoidea and Diptera Brachycera in A. brevis pollination. Therefore, we propose integrating the two approaches as a powerful instrument to unravel interactions between flowering plants and associated fauna that can provide crucial information for the conservation of vulnerable environments such as high-mountain ecosystems. Full article
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Article
Coprophagous Hydrophilid Beetles (Coleoptera, Hydrophilidae, Sphaeridiinae) Distribution in the Polish Carpathians
Insects 2020, 11(6), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11060355 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1687
Abstract
Research on coprophagous beetles of the Hydrophilidae family in the Polish Carpathians was conducted from 2011 to 2013. The beetles were caught using baited traps. The research sites were selected to take into account both the horizontal diversity of habitat conditions and the [...] Read more.
Research on coprophagous beetles of the Hydrophilidae family in the Polish Carpathians was conducted from 2011 to 2013. The beetles were caught using baited traps. The research sites were selected to take into account both the horizontal diversity of habitat conditions and the vertical diversity associated with elevation above sea level. During the study, 9589 coprophagous hydrophilid individuals were collected, representing 17 species and five genera. Two species that were new to Poland were found: Cercyon tatricus and Pachysternum capense. The vertical ranges of the individual species of coprophagous hydrophilid beetles within the Polish Carpathians were determined as well as the elevations above sea level, with the highest and lowest species richness of this group of insects. The capture of Pachysternum capense in the Tatra Mountains may indicate the existence of an unrecognized path of migration of small insects from Southern to Northern Europe. The route and mechanisms of their migration are discussed. Full article
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Review
Ecosystem Birth near Melting Glaciers: A Review on the Pioneer Role of Ground-Dwelling Arthropods
Insects 2020, 11(9), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090644 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3039
Abstract
As glaciers retreat, their forelands represent “natural laboratories” for the study of primary succession. This review describes how certain arthropods conquer pristine ground and develop food webs before the establishment of vascular plants. Based on soil samples, pitfall traps, fallout and sticky traps, [...] Read more.
As glaciers retreat, their forelands represent “natural laboratories” for the study of primary succession. This review describes how certain arthropods conquer pristine ground and develop food webs before the establishment of vascular plants. Based on soil samples, pitfall traps, fallout and sticky traps, gut content studies, and some unpublished data, we compare early arthropod succession on glacial forelands of northern Europe (Iceland, Norway including Svalbard, and Sweden) and of the Alps (Austria, Italy). While macroarthropod predators like ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae), harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones), and spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) have usually been considered as pioneers, assumed to feed on airborne prey, this review explains a different pattern. Here, we highlight that springtails (Collembola), probably feeding on biofilm made up of algae or cyanobacteria, are super-pioneers, even at high altitudes and under arctic conditions. We also point out that macroarthropod predators can use locally available prey, such as springtails or non-biting midges (Diptera: Chironomidae). Pioneer arthropod communities vary under different biogeographical and climatic conditions. Two pioneer food webs, from northern Europe and the Alps, respectively, differed in structure and function. However, certain genera and orders were common to both. Generalists and specialists live together in a pioneer community. Cold-adapted specialists are threatened by glacier melting. Full article
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Article
Thermal Tolerance of Fruit-Feeding Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in Contrasting Mountaintop Environments
Insects 2020, 11(5), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11050278 - 01 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2426
Abstract
Ectothermic organisms, such as insects, are highly temperature dependent and are good models for studies that predict organisms’ responses to global climate change. Predicting how climate change may affect species distributions is a complicated task. However, it is possible to estimate species’ physiological [...] Read more.
Ectothermic organisms, such as insects, are highly temperature dependent and are good models for studies that predict organisms’ responses to global climate change. Predicting how climate change may affect species distributions is a complicated task. However, it is possible to estimate species’ physiological constraints through maximum critical temperature, which may indicate if the species can tolerate new climates. Butterflies are useful organisms for studies of thermal tolerance. We tested if species have different thermal tolerances and if different habitats influence the thermal tolerance of the butterflies present in Brazil’s campo rupestre (open areas) and forest islands (shaded areas). A total of 394 fruit-feeding butterflies, comprising 45 species, were tested. The results separated the species into two statistically different groups: the resistant species with maximum critical temperature of 53.8 ± 7.4 °C, and the non-resistant species with maximum critical temperature of 48.2 ± 7.4 °C. The species of butterflies displayed differences in maximum critical temperature between the campo rupestre and forest islands that can be related to the two distinct habitats, but this did not correlate phylogenetically. Species from the forest islands were also divided into two groups, “resistant” and “non-resistant”, probably due to the heterogeneity of the habitat; the forest islands have a canopy, and in the understory, there are shaded and sunny areas. Species from forest islands, especially species that displayed lower thermal tolerance, may be more susceptible to global warming. Full article
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