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Areas of endemism of the Patagonian steppe: an approach based on insect distributional patterns using endemicity analysis

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Abstract Aims 

To delimit areas of endemism in the Patagonian steppe using endemicity analysis (EA), which evaluates areas of endemism by means of an endemicity index, and to compare the resulting endemic areas with those proposed for the Patagonian steppe by previous authors. Location 

The Patagonian steppe, a region of South America found approximately below parallel 36° S to the east of the Andes Mountains. Methods 

Distributional data for 159 species of insects collected in the Patagonian steppe, and consisting of 1317 georeferenced samples were used to identify areas of endemism. A data grid of presence and absence (with cells of 1° × 1°) was constructed. Initially, two different types of EA were performed, seeking areas defined by ‘four or more’ species. A first analysis was performed without taking into consideration those quadrats where no species had been recorded (empty quadrats), which in many cases meant a discontinuous distribution. The second analysis was performed assuming a continuous distribution for each species. A third analysis, assuming continuous distributions, was performed using ‘three or more’ as the number of species necessary for an area to be identified as an endemic area. Results 

In the first two analyses, EA recognized the same five areas of endemism: western Patagonia, south-western Payunia, northern Suabandean, southern Subandean and Austral Patagonia. The results of the third analysis allowed the identification of three more areas of endemism: northern Payunia, Chubutian and Santacrucian. Main conclusions 

We identified five areas of endemism for the Patagonian steppe, some of which have been defined in previous contributions. These areas are: Western Patagonia, Payunia and Subandean Patagonia (which can be divided into septentrional and meridional), Central Patagonia (Chubutence and Santacrucense) and Austral Patagonia.
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Keywords: Areas of endemism; Patagonia; distributional patterns; endemicity analysis; historical biogeography; insects; southern South America; steppe

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratorio de Entomología, Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Áridas (IADIZA), CC 507, 5500, Mendoza, Argentina 2: Division of Entomology, University of Nebraska State Museum, W 436 Nebraska Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0514, USA

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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