Low beta diversity of herbivorous insects in tropical forests

Vojtech Novotny, Scott E. Miller, Jiri Hulcr, Richard A I Drew, Yves Basset, Milan Janda, Gregory P. Setliff, Karolyn Darrow, Alan J A Stewart, John Auga, Brus Isua, Kenneth Molem, Markus Manumbor, Elvis Tamtiai, Martin Mogia, George D. Weiblen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

182 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent advances in understanding insect communities in tropical forests have contributed little to our knowledge of large-scale patterns of insect diversity, because incomplete taxonomic knowledge of many tropical species hinders the mapping of their distribution records. This impedes an understanding of global biodiversity patterns and explains why tropical insects are under-represented in conservation biology. Our study of approximately 500 species from three herbivorous guilds feeding on foliage (caterpillars, Lepidoptera), wood (ambrosia beetles, Coleoptera) and fruit (fruitflies, Diptera) found a low rate of change in species composition (beta diversity) across 75,000 square kilometres of contiguous lowland rainforest in Papua New Guinea, as most species were widely distributed. For caterpillars feeding on large plant genera, most species fed on multiple host species, so that even locally restricted plant species did not support endemic herbivores. Large plant genera represented a continuously distributed resource easily colonized by moths and butterflies over hundreds of kilometres. Low beta diversity was also documented in groups with differing host specificity (fruitflies and ambrosia beetles), suggesting that dispersal limitation does not have a substantial role in shaping the distribution of insect species in New Guinea lowland rainforests. Similar patterns of low beta diversity can be expected in other tropical lowland rainforests, as they are typically situated in the extensive low basins of major tropical rivers similar to the Sepik-Ramu region of New Guinea studied here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-695
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume448
Issue number7154
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 9 2007

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Beetles
New Guinea
Ambrosia
Insects
Papua New Guinea
Butterflies
Hemiptera
Lepidoptera
Herbivory
Moths
Host Specificity
Biodiversity
Rivers
Diptera
Fruit
Forests
Rainforest

Cite this

Novotny, V., Miller, S. E., Hulcr, J., Drew, R. A. I., Basset, Y., Janda, M., ... Weiblen, G. D. (2007). Low beta diversity of herbivorous insects in tropical forests. Nature, 448(7154), 692-695. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06021

Low beta diversity of herbivorous insects in tropical forests. / Novotny, Vojtech; Miller, Scott E.; Hulcr, Jiri; Drew, Richard A I; Basset, Yves; Janda, Milan; Setliff, Gregory P.; Darrow, Karolyn; Stewart, Alan J A; Auga, John; Isua, Brus; Molem, Kenneth; Manumbor, Markus; Tamtiai, Elvis; Mogia, Martin; Weiblen, George D.

In: Nature, Vol. 448, No. 7154, 09.08.2007, p. 692-695.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Novotny, V, Miller, SE, Hulcr, J, Drew, RAI, Basset, Y, Janda, M, Setliff, GP, Darrow, K, Stewart, AJA, Auga, J, Isua, B, Molem, K, Manumbor, M, Tamtiai, E, Mogia, M & Weiblen, GD 2007, 'Low beta diversity of herbivorous insects in tropical forests', Nature, vol. 448, no. 7154, pp. 692-695. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06021
Novotny V, Miller SE, Hulcr J, Drew RAI, Basset Y, Janda M et al. Low beta diversity of herbivorous insects in tropical forests. Nature. 2007 Aug 9;448(7154):692-695. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06021
Novotny, Vojtech ; Miller, Scott E. ; Hulcr, Jiri ; Drew, Richard A I ; Basset, Yves ; Janda, Milan ; Setliff, Gregory P. ; Darrow, Karolyn ; Stewart, Alan J A ; Auga, John ; Isua, Brus ; Molem, Kenneth ; Manumbor, Markus ; Tamtiai, Elvis ; Mogia, Martin ; Weiblen, George D. / Low beta diversity of herbivorous insects in tropical forests. In: Nature. 2007 ; Vol. 448, No. 7154. pp. 692-695.
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