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Habitat Specialization, Body Size, and Family Identity Explain Lepidopteran Density-Area Relationships in a Cross-Continental Comparison

Peter A. Hambäck, Keith S. Summerville, Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Jochen Krauss, Göran Englund and Thomas O. Crist
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 104, No. 20 (May 15, 2007), pp. 8368-8373
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25427676
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Habitat Specialization, Body Size, and Family Identity Explain Lepidopteran Density-Area Relationships in a Cross-Continental Comparison
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Abstract

Habitat fragmentation may strongly affect species density, species interactions, and the rate of ecosystem processes. It is therefore important to understand the observed variability among species responses to fragmentation and the underlying mechanisms. In this study, we compare density-area relationships (DARs) for 344 lepidopteran species belonging to 22 families (butterflies and moths). This analysis suggested that the ${\rm DARS}_{slope}$ is generally positive for moths and negative for butterflies. The differences are suggested to occur because moths are largely olfactory searchers, whereas most butterflies are visual searchers. The analysis also suggests that DARs vary as a function of habitat specialization and body size. In butterflies, generalist species had a more negative DARsiope than specialist species because of a lower patch size threshold. In moths, the differences in ${\rm DAR}_{{\rm slope}}$ between forest and open habitat species were large for small species but absent for large species. This difference is argued to occur because the ${\rm DAR}_{{\rm slope}}$ in large species mainly reflects their search mode, which does not necessarily vary between moth groups, whereas the slope in small species reflects population growth rates.

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