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1 March 2018 Influence of Habitat Heterogeneity on Structure and Composition of a Chrysomelidae (Coleoptera) Assemblage in a Temperate Forest in Northeast Mexico
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Disturbance in natural areas occurs as a result of various processes on various spatio-temporal scales, generating a heterogeneous mosaic of environmental characteristics. The effect of such change on diversity patterns has been explained by the hypothesis of habitat heterogeneity. Modifications in abiotic and biotic factors such as plant density influence the composition and structure of assemblages of phytophagous insects. Response of the leaf beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) assemblage to such changes was evaluated in an oak (Quercus spp.) forest in the Altas Cumbres Natural Protected Area, Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The delimited mosaic was classified into four categories according to the length of time since the last disturbance: 1 year, 10 years, 30 years, and 40 years. Disturbance time categories were delimited using remote sensing techniques from LANDSAT satellite scenes. Leaf beetles were sampled each month from February to April 2016 in 10 plots per category. The numbers of herbaceous and shrubby plants in each plot were counted with the aim of estimating the plant density of each category and relating values with differences among communities of Chrysomelidae. In total, 1,056 individuals of six subfamilies and 37 species were obtained, with Centralaphthona sp. 1 the most abundant. Thirteen species were specialists, while Helocassis crucipennis (Boheman, 1855) occurred in the most niches. Leaf beetles preferred high plant densities and were most abundant and had most species richness in the category of 10 years since the last disturbance. The community had aggregate spatial distribution that might reflect significant biological patterns. Alpha diversity indices indicated the 10-year category was most even, with Hypolampsis sp. 1 the dominant species. In contrast, least evenness was in the 1-year category where Centralaphthona sp. 1 was dominant; the species might indicate permanent disturbance. The community had low species turnover among the categories of disturbance and is therefore expected to have high gamma diversity. Inventory of the study area had 82.4% completeness; however, categories of 10 and 30 years required more sampling effort. Results supported the hypothesis of habitat heterogeneity, because observed community patterns did not occur by chance. This suggested that environmental heterogeneity because of disturbance positively influenced composition and community structure of Chrysomelidae, and observed patterns responded to intra- and interspecific interactions.

Fatima Magdalena Sandoval-Becerra, Uriel Jeshua Sánchez-Reyes, Shawn M. Clark, Crystian Sadiel Venegas-Barrera, Jorge Víctor Horta-Vega, and Santiago Niño-Maldonado "Influence of Habitat Heterogeneity on Structure and Composition of a Chrysomelidae (Coleoptera) Assemblage in a Temperate Forest in Northeast Mexico," Southwestern Entomologist 43(1), 115-130, (1 March 2018).
Published: 1 March 2018

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