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Determinant variables of Iberian Peninsula Aphodiinae diversity (Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea, Aphodiidae)

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Abstract Aim 

The aims of this paper are to examine diversity–variability patterns for species of Aphodiinae (Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea, Aphodiidae) on the Iberian Peninsula, and to determine the factors that influence their geographic distribution. Location 

Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Methods 

Data from 30 studies and their bibliographies on species of Iberian Peninsula Aphodiinae were compiled. The reliability of the inventories was evaluated using parametric species richness estimators. In addition, a further 11 variables related to rarity, geographic distribution, or phylogenetic diversity were considered. Diversity variables were analysed using principal components analysis to reduce the number of dependent variables. Subsequently, the effect of differences in locality size among the 30 studies was eliminated by calculating and retaining the residuals of the curvilinear relationship of each diversity variable with the area. Generalized linear models were used to examine the relationships between diversity and 17 environmental variables. The diversity variables and their residuals were also subject to trend surface analysis in order to identify the relevance of spatially structured variables that had not been considered. The contribution of explanatory variables was determined through hierarchical variance analysis. Results 

Principal components analysis of biodiversity variables revealed that most of the variability could be explained using three biodiversity indexes: BI1, correlated positively with species richness, widely distributed species, frequent species, abundant species, species occurring in North Africa, Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, and phylogenetic diversity; BI2, correlated positively with numbers of infrequent and African–Iberian species; and, BI3, correlated positively with numbers of endemic, non-abundant, European, and Iberian-restricted species. A latitudinal disjunction emerged in BI1, with maximum scores at the north-western and southern corners, while maximum BI2 scores were found throughout the south, and maximum BI3 scores in the north-west. For BI1, it was climate that had the greatest influence, followed by lithology, and livestock presence. Geographic variables were the most significant for BI2, followed by climate and livestock presence. Finally, for BI3, climate variables were the most important, while geography, lithology and livestock presence had some relevance. Main conclusions 

The relevance of geographic variables indicates that other unaccounted-for factors that are spatially structured could possibly explain additional variation in Aphodiinae diversity. These factors may be historic in nature, relating to the species groups, namely the Ibero-European and the Mediterranean or Afro-Iberian. The northern pattern could reflect the fact that the Iberian Peninsula acted as a colonization route and as a refuge during the glacial/interglacial cycles, while the southern pattern could be a consequence of the connection between the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa during the Messinian crisis, and/or a historic relationship in common, related to human activity.

Keywords: Aphodiinae; Iberian Peninsula; climatic variables; diversity patterns; dung beetles; environmental factors; historic factors; spatial structure

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2006


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