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Modelling the species richness distribution for French Aphodiidae (Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea)

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The species richness distribution of the French Aphodiidae was predicted using Generalized Linear Models to relate the number of species to spatial, topographic and climate variables. The entire French territory was studied, divided into 301 0.72×0.36 degree grid squares; the model was developed using 66 grid squares previously identified as well sampled. After eliminating nine outliers, the final model accounted for 74.8% of total deviance with a mean Jackknife predictive error of 10.5%. Three richest areas could be distinguished: the western head (Brittany), southwestern France, and, to a lesser extent, the northeastern region. Sampling effort should now be focused on the western head, where no square was correctly sampled, and on southwestern France, which was recognised as a diversity hotspot, both for Aphodiidae and for Scarabaeidae. The largest fraction of variability (37%) in the number of species was accounted for by the combined effect of the three groups of explanatory variables. After controlling for the effect of significant climate and topographic variables, spatial variables still explain 27% of variation in species richness, suggesting the existence of a spatial pattern in the distribution of species richness (greater diversity in western France) that can not be explained by the environmental variables considered here. We hypothesize that this longitudinal spatial pattern is due to the relevance of a western colonization pathway along the glacial-interglacial cycles, as well as by the barrier effect played by the Alps.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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