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Data from: Massive structural redundancies in species composition patterns of floodplain forest moths

Cite this dataset

Truxa, Christine; Fiedler, Konrad (2015). Data from: Massive structural redundancies in species composition patterns of floodplain forest moths [Dataset]. Dryad.


Terrestrial arthropod communities usually consist of very large species numbers. Data from experiments or long time-series would be required to ascertain the functional significance of individual species. Both are largely unavailable for species-rich natural communities. Recognising structural redundancies in species composition allows for an alternative approach to address how strong functional redundancy might be in natural assemblages, if structural and functional redundancies are related to each other. Determining structural redundancies is a regular topic in aquatic ecology, but has rarely been applied to terrestrial communities. We explored the extent of structural redundancy in species-rich terrestrial insect assemblages and whether structural redundancies are contingent to species abundances or functional group affiliations. We used the BVSTEP algorithm to determine structural redundancies in a large data set of moth species (32 181 individuals; 448 species) that had been sampled with light-traps in three different floodplain forests in eastern Austria. We partitioned the moth species into 12 functional types based on larval host-plant affiliations to test if moth species included in reduced subsets represent functional groups in the same proportions as they occur in the entire fauna. We observed far more massive structural redundancies in moth assemblages than previously found in aquatic communities. Subsets containing only 8–15 species (1.8–3.3% of all recorded species) were still highly representative for the overall data. Subsets selected by the BVSTEP procedure performed better than equally small subsets that were defined solely by species abundances or by functional group affiliations. Effective ‘surrogate’ subsets contained only 6–9 of the 12 functional moth types. High abundance only loosely corresponded with the frequency at which a moth species was included in the subsets. Thus, certain uncommon species contribute importantly to species composition patterns. Our results show unexpectedly extensive structural redundancies in complex floodplain forest moth communities, which may also indicate strong functional redundancies.

Usage notes


River Morava
flooded habitat: N 16°42'20"; E 48°00'19"
non-flooded habitat: N 16°41'24"
E 48°08'41"; flooded habitat: N 16°41'02"
E 48°17'96"
E 48°07'53"
Orth an der Donau
Eastern Austria
River Danube
non-flooded habitat: N 16°51'32"; E 48°03'28"
non-flooded habitat: 16°53'26"; E 48°17'00"; flooded habitat: N 16°53'22"
River Leitha