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The importance of considering insects in the protection of biodiversity has been recently recognized. However, despite the importance of Spheciformes wasps (Hymenoptera: Ampulicidae, Sphecidae and Crabronidae) in natural ecosystems and their potential as bioindicators, the Spheciformes communities in Portugal (part of the European biodiversity hotspot) have rarely been studied, and data for Portuguese protected areas are scarce. The Spheciformes wasp communities at 3 protected areas in Portugal, Douro International Natural Park, Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park, and Paúl do Boquilobo Nature Reserve, were studied in 2000 and 2001. During the study, 134 species of Spheciformes belonging to 3 families, Ampulicidae, Sphecidae, and Crabronidae, were identified. The species collected constituted nearly 1/3 of the species known in the Iberian Peninsula, 42 were new records for Portugal. Additionally, several specimens of 6 potentially new species were collected. Douro International Natural Park had the highest species richness, followed by Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park and Paúl do Boquilobo Nature Reserve. All the protected areas studied had species that were found exclusively at an individual protected area and species that were found to be new records for Portugal. Based on the literature review of the geographic distribution, nidification types, and prey orders, it was found that most species collected had a Euroasiatic or Mediterranean distribution, species with fossorial habits predominated, and the orders/suborders of insects preyed upon by most species were Diptera, Orthoptera, Sternorrhyncha, and Auchenorrhyncha. This study underscores the importance of including the protected areas studied in the conservation of Spheciformes diversity and also suggests that insect diversity should be studied separately, as it does not necessarily follow the same patterns as other, more studied, groups.