Science Rendue Possible

Moore, M. P., and F. Khan. 2023. Relatively large wings facilitate life at higher elevations among Nearctic dragonflies. Journal of Animal Ecology.

Determining which traits allow species to live at higher elevations is essential to understanding the forces that shape montane biodiversity.For the many animals that rely on flight for locomotion, a long‐standing hypothesis is that species with relatively large wings should better persist in high‐elevation environments because wings that are large relative to the body generate more lift and decrease the aerobic costs of remaining aloft. Although these biomechanical and physiological predictions have received some support in birds, other flying taxa often possess smaller wings at high elevations or no wings at all.To test if predictions about the requirements for relative wing size at high elevations are generalizable beyond birds, we conducted macroecological analyses on the altitudinal characteristics of 302 Nearctic dragonfly species.Consistent with the biomechanical and aerobic hypotheses, species with relatively larger wings live at higher elevations and have wider elevation breadths—even after controlling for a species' body size, mean thermal conditions, and range size. Moreover, a species' relative wing size had nearly as large of an impact on its maximum elevation as being adapted to the cold.Relatively large wings may be essential to high‐elevation life in species that completely depend on flight for locomotion, like dragonflies or birds. With climate change forcing taxa to disperse upslope, our findings further suggest that relatively large wings could be a requirement for completely volant taxa to persist in montane habitats.

Koju, L., N. Shrestha, B. B. Raskoti, R. Ale, N. P. Ghimire, and S. Shrestha. 2023. Spatial patterns, underlying drivers and conservation priorities of orchids in the central Himalaya. Biological Conservation 283: 110121.

Understanding the primary drivers of species diversity patterns and identifying critical places for biodiversity protection are the two major concerns confronting the global conservation community. The Orchidaceae, which is one of the most diverse angiosperm families with over 30,000 species, is currently facing grave threats from habitat degradation, climate change, and a range of human-induced issues. However, the spatial patterns of orchid distribution and the factors influencing these patterns, both of which are crucial for developing successful orchid conservation plans, remain poorly understood. Here, using one of the most extensive distribution datasets of >500 orchid species in Nepal, we mapped the distribution of all, common, rare, epiphyte, and terrestrial species and identified important factors driving their patterns. We also assessed their protection gaps and identified key conservation regions. We discovered low spatial congruence between the diversity patterns of different groups, and the fundamental drivers underlying the richness pattern differed considerably. The key orchid conservation areas were primarily found in the mid-hills and highlands of central Nepal, with 62 % of these areas outside the protected area (PA) network. Our findings emphasize the importance of considering pollinator diversity and other climate factors when developing effective management plans to conserve orchids, as well as employing different strategies to conserve different life forms. A huge conservation gap in protecting orchids despite large PA coverage in Nepal indicates insufficiency of existing PA network in conserving plants. Therefore, our findings reiterates the need to consider plant conservation goals alongside animal conservation priorities in future conservation planning.

Rudolph, E. A., and N. G. Wiman. 2023. Insights from specimen data for two economic Chrysobothris species (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) in the western United States A. Fraser [ed.],. Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

Abstract Chrysobothris mali Horn and Chrysobothris femorata (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) are wood-boring beetles native to western North America. Both species are highly polyphagous, feeding on a wide range of deciduous trees and shrubs, including fruit and nut trees as well as shade trees grown as nursery stock. Chrysobothris femorata is widely distributed across North America, while C. mali occurs west of the Rocky Mountains. There is a notable lack of basic biological information regarding both species’ phenology and distributions in the Pacific Northwest. To better understand the biology of these economically important insects, seasonal adult collection information, host plant association data, and morphological measurements were collected from preserved specimens residing in 5 major regional arthropod collections. Label information was collected from 661 C. mali and 165 C. femorata specimens. Collection location data were used to create a map of C. femorata and C. mali distributions in the western United States, indicating that C. femorata is significantly less abundant in California, Oregon, and Washington than C. mali. Of the 50 associated plant taxa noted on specimen labels, only 4 associations were shared between the species, potentially indicating host specialization. New reproductive hosts are recorded for C. femorata (2 hosts) and C. mali (3 hosts). Tree species commonly damaged by flatheaded borers in commercial orchards and nurseries were not present in the historical records. The insights gleaned from specimen data allow researchers to better understand the biology and ecology of these understudied, yet economically impactful insects in the western United States.

Lee, F., N. C. Boddy, M. Bloxham, A. R. McIntosh, G. L. W. Perry, and K. S. Simon. 2023. Spatiotemporal patterns of research on Southern Hemisphere amphidromous galaxiids: A semi–quantitative review. Austral Ecology.

Amphidromy is a distinctive life‐history strategy of some fish species that involves spawning in fresh or brackish water followed by dispersal to sea by newly hatched larvae, where they develop for a short period. Individuals then return to freshwater as juveniles, where they feed and grow, before maturing and spawning. Six amphidromous species from the Southern Hemisphere genus Galaxias (G. truttaceus, G. fasciatus, G. argenteus, G. postvectis, G. brevipinnis, G. maculatus) are recreationally, culturally, and economically important as the juveniles are harvested. Due to ongoing population declines and a lack of critical demographic information, there is growing concern about the management of the species. Here, we used semi‐quantitative review, culturomics, and bibliometric tools to analyse peer‐reviewed research conducted on the six amphidromous species of Galaxias to: (i) understand how spatiotemporal patterns of research have shifted over the last five decades, and (ii) identify critical research gaps. Forty percent of studies (n = 295) covered a spatial extent of 10 km or less and 87% of studies lasted less than 2 years – studies were largely small and short relative to the species' ranges and their longevity. Additionally, we found important research gaps; for example, studies on the effects of climate change and the associated effects of disturbance, and the marine phase are scarce in the peer‐reviewed literature. Finally, we suggest that quantitative models have been underutilized as tools for studying amphidromous galaxiids and should be embraced to answer questions not readily addressed with field and laboratory‐based techniques. If these species are to be effectively managed, their population dynamics across spatiotemporal scales must be understood and critical and long‐standing gaps in research knowledge addressed.

Huber, B. A., G. Meng, J. Král, I. M. Ávila Herrera, M. A. Izquierdo, and L. S. Carvalho. 2023. High and dry: integrative taxonomy of the Andean spider genus Nerudia (Araneae: Pholcidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Abstract Ninetinae are a group of poorly known spiders that do not fit the image of ‘daddy long-legs spiders’ (Pholcidae), the family to which they belong. They are mostly short-legged, tiny and live in arid environments. The previously monotypic Andean genus Nerudia exemplifies our poor knowledge of Ninetinae: only seven adult specimens from two localities in Chile and Argentina have been reported in the literature. We found representatives of Nerudia at 24 of 52 localities visited in 2019, mostly under rocks in arid habitats, up to 4450 m a.s.l., the highest known record for Pholcidae. With now more than 400 adult specimens, we revise the genus, describing ten new species based on morphology (including SEM) and COI barcodes. We present the first karyotype data for Nerudia and for its putative sister-genus Gertschiola. These two southern South American genera share a X1X2X3Y sex chromosome system. We model the distribution of Nerudia, showing that the genus is expected to occur in the Atacama biogeographic province (no record so far) and that its environmental niche is phylogenetically conserved. This is the first comprehensive revision of any Ninetinae genus. It suggests that focused collecting may uncover a considerable diversity of these enigmatic spiders.

Dauwalter, D. C., E. Miskow, and C. Crookshanks. 2023. Spatial Conservation Assessment for Native Fishes in the Lahontan and Central Nevada Basins, USA. Water 15: 1087.

Freshwater biodiversity is declining faster than terrestrial and marine biodiversity. The protection and restoration of aquatic habitats are based, in part, on stemming this decline. We conducted a spatial conservation assessment of native fishes in the Lahontan and central Nevada basins using core-area zonation. The complementarity-based assessment yielded a landscape value (rank) of all subwatersheds (12-digit hydrologic unit code; ~12,000 ha) whereby high-ranking subwatersheds, as a set, maximized the representation of all native species, subspecies, and the within-species ecological diversity of salmonids, while accounting for aquatic connectivity and risk of aquatic habitat degradation. The high-ranking subwatersheds encapsulated small patches of habitat inhabited by endemic desert fishes, as in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. They also highlighted clusters of high-value subwatersheds, such as in the Truckee River watershed that has extant populations of, and historical habitat for, Lahontan cutthroat trout in its headwaters, with species such as the mountain whitefish with migratory life histories, and endemic cui-ui, Chasmistes cujus, at Pyramid Lake—a terminal lake. Both the Truckee River headwaters and Pyramid Lake have been recipients of ongoing native fish conservation efforts. The landscape rankings will be used by the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership to inform regional conservation investments, and the rankings are available for broader use by resource agencies working on native fish conservation at landscape scales.

(no abstract available)

Higino, G. T., F. Banville, G. Dansereau, N. R. Forero Muñoz, F. Windsor, and T. Poisot. 2023. Mismatch between IUCN range maps and species interactions data illustrated using the Serengeti food web. PeerJ 11: e14620.

Background Range maps are a useful tool to describe the spatial distribution of species. However, they need to be used with caution, as they essentially represent a rough approximation of a species’ suitable habitats. When stacked together, the resulting communities in each grid cell may not always be realistic, especially when species interactions are taken into account. Here we show the extent of the mismatch between range maps, provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and species interactions data. More precisely, we show that local networks built from those stacked range maps often yield unrealistic communities, where species of higher trophic levels are completely disconnected from primary producers. Methodology We used the well-described Serengeti food web of mammals and plants as our case study, and identify areas of data mismatch within predators’ range maps by taking into account food web structure. We then used occurrence data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to investigate where data is most lacking. Results We found that most predator ranges comprised large areas without any overlapping distribution of their prey. However, many of these areas contained GBIF occurrences of the predator. Conclusions Our results suggest that the mismatch between both data sources could be due either to the lack of information about ecological interactions or the geographical occurrence of prey. We finally discuss general guidelines to help identify defective data among distributions and interactions data, and we recommend this method as a valuable way to assess whether the occurrence data that are being used, even if incomplete, are ecologically accurate.

Climate change is a global phenomenon that will generate profound changes in biodiversity in the near future. Studies have reported negative impacts of climate change for South American amphibians; however, for Andean species such as Rhinella spinulosa, the potential response to the effects of climate change is unknown. Using ecological niche models, we estimate the potential distribution of R. spinulosa, identifying the environmental variables that explain its distribution and projecting predictions in climate change scenarios to elucidate their impact on the distribution pattern. The results revealed that the variables of elevation (48.7%), mean temperature of the hottest quarter (44.2%), and topographic humidity index (3.2%) were the most important contributors to the model and are predictors of the distribution of R. spinulosa. The most suitable areas for its distribution are its current range, extending to the north, as well as on the western Andean slope and Argentine Patagonia. Predictions for the future (year 2080) under two scenarios (benign and severe) coincide with the distribution predicted for the current one. Climatic conditions will not be considerably different in the distribution area of R. spinulosa, which may be due to the buffer effect of the mountain range. However, freshwater ecosystems will be more at risk from climate change, which could affect the reproductive success and survival of amphibians. Therefore, we recommend evaluating water availability at a local scale to understand the potential changes in the geographic distribution of R. spinulosa.

Hausdorf, B. 2023. Distribution patterns of established alien land snail species in the Western Palaearctic Region. NeoBiota 81: 1–32.

AbstractEstablished alien land snail species that were introduced into the Western Palaearctic Region from other regions and their spread in the Western Palaearctic are reviewed. Thirteen of the 22 species came from North America, three from Sub-Saharan Africa, two from the Australian region, three probably from the Oriental Region and one from South America. The establishment of outdoor populations of these species was usually first seen at the western or southern rims of the Western Palearctic. Within Europe, the alien species usually spread from south to north and from west to east. The latitudinal ranges of the alien species significantly increased with increasing time since the first record of introduction to the Western Palearctic. The latitudinal mid-points of the Western Palaearctic and native ranges of the species are significantly correlated when one outlier is omitted. There is a general trend of poleward shifts of the ranges of the species in the Western Palaearctic compared to their native ranges. There are three reasons for these shifts: (1) the northward expansion of some species in Western Europe facilitated by the oceanic climate, (2) the impediment to the colonisation of southern latitudes in the Western Palaearctic due to their aridity and (3) the establishment of tropical species in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Most of the species are small, not carnivorous and unlikely to cause serious ecological or economic damage. In contrast, the recently introduced large veronicellid slugs from Sub-Saharan Africa and the giant African snail Lissachatinafulica could cause economic damage in irrigated agricultural areas or greenhouses in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.