Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Six times more insect species in tropical mountains than predicted

Date:
September 7, 2010
Source:
Umeå University
Summary:
How many species of insects exist? Researchers found that in tropical mountains there are six times more insects than shown in global calculations. The insects in these areas are also highly specialized in their choice of food.

How many species of insects exist? Umeå University researcher, Genoveva Rodríguez-Castañeda, found that in tropical mountains there are six times more insects than shown in global calculations. The insects in these areas are also highly specialized in their choice of food.

"Our results urge ecologists to account for biogeographical variation when extrapolating in order to obtain global estimates," she says.

Up until now researchers have calculated insect global diversity to be highest at tropical latitudes and the estimates for total number of insect species in the world ranges from five to ten million species. However, these calculations are based from indices derived from plant insect interactions measured in tropical lowlands of Papua New Guinea. Genoveva Rodríguez-Castañeda examined if there was geographical variation in the nature of plant-insect interactions across elevation and if these differences were relevant for global estimates of insect diversity.

Her study shows that plant herbivore associations change across elevation. Herbivore insects have a higher specialization on which host plants they use in tropical montane forests than in tropical lowland forests. These differences occurred not only locally across the Ecuadorean Andes but also across the Barva volcano in Costa Rica.

Furthermore, estimates of herbivore diversity increased drastically when geographical variations on herbivore-plant interactions were accounted for the Neotropical zone.

"This shows that what we know of insect diversity still lacks knowledge on tropical mountain diversity. I have worked with one type of herbivore insects, moths. Now we need to test if this pattern also occurs in other types of herbivore," she explains.

The researchers incorporated various ecological factors into a model that would explain tropical herbivore diversity. It showed how food sources are not the only predictor of herbivore diversity. Other factors that increase in tropical montane ecosystems such as stability of climate, protection from predators and evolutionary history may play a more important role.

The study highlights a gap in tropical ecology knowledge since there is very little research done with herbivore plant interactions in montane ecosystems. At the same time it demonstrates how tropical montane systems host high diversity of specialized insects.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Umeå University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Genoveva Rodríguez-Castañeda, Lee A. Dyer, Gunnar Brehm, Heidi Connahs, Rebecca E. Forkner, Thomas R. Walla. LETTER: Tropical forests are not flat: how mountains affect herbivore diversity. Ecology Letters, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01525.x

Cite This Page:

Umeå University. "Six times more insect species in tropical mountains than predicted." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100906084811.htm>.
Umeå University. (2010, September 7). Six times more insect species in tropical mountains than predicted. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100906084811.htm
Umeå University. "Six times more insect species in tropical mountains than predicted." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100906084811.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins