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Relationships between drosophilids (Diptera, Drosophilidae) and the environment in two contrasting tropical vegetations

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Although natural populations of drosophilid flies have been the subject of ecological studies, the population ecology of these insects in the tropics is still poorly known. This paper discusses aspects of the relationship between drosophilids and their environment, based on 28 monthly collections made in two contrasting vegetations of the Brazilian Cerrado biome: gallery forest and savanna. Exotic species were found in both types of environment; but 14 of the 30 captured Neotropical species occurred exclusively in the gallery forests, probably because of their climatic stability and greater environmental heterogeneity. Even though some endemic species were more abundant in the dry and cold months, most populations exhibited peaks of abundance in the wet season. The species diversity indexes (H′ and D), higher in the dry season, were probably affected by increased evenness at this time of year, when the populations of practically all the species are greatly reduced. As species richness in the savanna vegetation clearly decreased in the dry season, increasing again in the wet season, it is suggested that some drosophilids migrate to the forests when climatic conditions are too stressful in the savannas. © 2006 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2006, 87, 233–247.
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Keywords: Brazil; Cerrado biome; Drosophila; South America; Zaprionus; biodiversity; gallery forest; savanna; temporal distribution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Instituto de Biologia, GEM, Universidade de Brasília CP 04457, 70919–970, Brasília, Brazil

Publication date: 01 February 2006

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