Moths exhibit different levels of fidelity to habitat, and some taxa are considered as bioindicators for conservation because they respond to habitat quality, environmental change, and vegetation types. In this study, we verified the effect of two phytophysiognomies of the Cerrado, savanna and forest, on the diversity distribution of moths of Erebidae (Arctiinae), Saturniidae, and Sphingidae families by using a hierarchical additive partitioning analysis. This analysis was based on two metrics: species richness and Shannon diversity index. The following questions were addressed: 1) Does the beta diversity of moths between phytophysiognomies add more species to the regional diversity than the beta diversity between sampling units and between sites? 2) Does the distribution of moth diversity differ among taxa? Alpha and beta diversities were compared with null models. The additive partitioning of species richness for the set of three Lepidoptera families identified beta diversity between phytophysiognomies as the component that contributed most to regional diversity, whereas the Shannon index identified alpha diversity as the major contributor. According to both species richness and the Shannon index, beta diversity between phytophysiognomies was significantly higher than expected by chance. Therefore, phytophysiognomies are the most important component in determining the richness and composition of the community. Additive partitioning also indicated that individual families of moths respond differently to the effect of habitat heterogeneity. The integrity of the Cerrado mosaic of phytophysiognomies plays a crucial role in maintaining moth biodiversity in the region.
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Vol. 44 • No. 3