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Butterflies of European islands: the implications of the geography and ecology of rarity and endemicity for conservation
NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK; nstitute for Environment, Sustainability and Regeneration, Staffordshire University, Stoke on Trent, UK.
Istituto Comprensivo Materna Elementere Media Convenevole da Prato, Prato, Italy.
School of Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Headington, Oxford, UK.
Davies Cottage, Penllyn, Cowbridge, UK.
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2008 (Engelska)Ingår i: Journal of Insect Conservation, ISSN 1366-638X, E-ISSN 1572-9753, Vol. 12, nr 3-4, s. 205-236Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Depending on their faunal content islands can function as important ‘vehicles’ for conservation. In this study, we examine data on 440 butterfly species over 564 European islands in 10 island groups. To determine the status of the butterfly fauna, we have adopted two approaches, island-focused and species-focused, examined using principal components analysis and regression modelling.

In the former, we relate species richness, rarity and endemicity to island geography (area, elevation, isolation and location in latitude and longitude); in the latter, species occurrence on islands is examined in relation to distribution, range, range boundaries, and altitudinal limits on the continent as well as species’ ecology (number of"/> host plants) and morphology (wing expanse). Species on islands are also assessed for their status on the continental mainland, their distributional dynamics (extinctions, distribution changes) and conservation status (Red Data Book, European Habitat Directive, Species of European Conservation Concern and Bern Convention listing.

Unexpectedly, we find that a large fraction of the European butterfly species is found on the islands (63.4%; 59% on small islands) comprising some 6.2% of the land area of Europe. Although species occurring on the islands tend, on the whole, to have lower conservation status and are not declining over Europe, 45 species are endemics restricted to the islands. Species richness shows only a weak locational pattern and is related as expected to isolation from the continental source and island area; but, both rarity and endemicity have distinctive geographical bias to southern Europe, on islands now under increasing pressure from climate change and increasingly intensive human exploitation. The vulnerability of species on islands is emphasised in the relationship of island occurrence (% occurrence and presence/absence of species on any island) with continental distributions. A large proportion of the variation (84%) is accounted by continental distribution, the southern range limit and lower altitudinal limit. Most species (69%) occur on very few islands (\5%). In view of ongoing species dynamics on islands, migrations and extinctions of species, island repositories of species depend in large part on conservation of butterflies at continental sources. The unique faunas and rare species on islands also depend on appropriate concern being given to the island faunas. Conservation of European islands is thus a two-way process, sustaining sources and conserving island refuges. Residuals from the regressions (islands with more or fewer species, rare and endemic species; species occurring more or less frequently than expected on islands) provide warning signals of regions and islands deserving immediate attention.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2008. Vol. 12, nr 3-4, s. 205-236
Nyckelord [en]
Endemicity, Europe, Lepidoptera, Rarity, Refuges, Species richness
Nationell ämneskategori
Biologiska vetenskaper
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-2081DOI: 10.1007/s10841-008-9148-3ISI: 000256341000003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-44949093420OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-2081DiVA, id: diva2:118743
Tillgänglig från: 2008-06-21 Skapad: 2008-06-21 Senast uppdaterad: 2018-03-13Bibliografiskt granskad

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