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Geographic patterns of insect diversity across China's nature reserves: The roles of niche conservatism and range overlapping

Citation

Lyu, Yueming; Wang, Xiangping; Luo, Juchun (2020), Geographic patterns of insect diversity across China's nature reserves: The roles of niche conservatism and range overlapping, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.msbcc2fth

Abstract

Aim

Insects are the most species‐rich clade in the world, but the broad‐scale diversity pattern and the potential drivers have not been well documented for the clade as a whole. We aimed to examine the relative roles of contemporary and historical climate, niche conservatism, range overlapping, and other environmental factors on geographic patterns of species richness and phylogenetic structure, for insects across China.

Location

China.

Methods

We collected insect data from 184 nature reserves and examined geographic patterns of species richness and mean root distance (MRD, a metric of the evolutionary development of assemblages) for different biogeographic affinities (Palearctic, Oriental, and widespread species) and for clades originated during the warm and cold geohistorical periods (“warm clades” and “cold clades,” respectively). We related richness and MRD to contemporary and historical climate, area, habitat heterogeneity, and human disturbance to evaluate their relative importance.

Results

Total species richness revealed a hump‐shaped latitudinal pattern, peaking between 30°~35°N. Richness patterns differed markedly among evolutionary groups: Oriental species richness decreased significantly with higher latitude but Palearctic species increased, while other groups again peaked between 30°~35°N. The range overlapping of different biogeographic groups in midlatitudes may be an important contributor to humped latitudinal richness patterns. MRD was positively related to latitude and increased more rapidly for “warm clades” than “cold clades.” Historical climate factors (especially winter coldness) were among the strongest predictors for both richness and phylogenetic patterns, for each evolutionary group, suggesting the strong influence of niche conservatism.

Conclusions

The hump‐shaped latitudinal pattern of insect richness in China is mainly shaped by niche conservatism and range overlapping, supplemented by habitat heterogeneity and contemporary climate. The role of niche conservatism and range overlapping may have been overlooked if only total species richness was analyzed, suggesting the importance of examining different evolutionary groups separately.

Funding

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31870430