Conservation of insect diversity: A habitat approach

  • Hughes J
  • Daily G
  • Ehrlich P
  • 313


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 75


    Citations of this article.


Neither time nor resources exist to design conservation plans for every species, particularly for little-studied, noncharismatic,but ecologically important taxa that make up most of biodiversity. To explore the feasibility of basing conservation action on community-level biogeography, we sampled a montane insect community. We addressed three issues: (1) the appropriate scale for sampling insect communities; (2) the association of habitat specialization-perhaps a measure of extinction vulnerability-with other ecological or physical traits; and (3) the correlation of diversity across major insect groups. Using malaise traps in Gunnison County, Colorado, we captured 8847 Diptera (identified to family and morphospecies), 1822 Hymenoptera (identified to morphospecies), and 2107 other insects (identified to order). We sampled in three habitat types-meadow, aspen, and conifer-defined on the basis of the dominant vegetation at the scale of hundreds of meters. Dipteran communities were clearly differentiated by habitat type rather than geographic proximity. This result also holds true for hymenopteran communities. Body size and feeding habits were associated with habitat specialization at the family level. In particular, habitat generalists at the family level-taxa perhaps more likely to survive anthropogenic habitat alteration-tended to be trophic generalists. Dipteran species richness was marginally correlated with hymenopteran species richness and was significantly correlated with the total number of insect orders sampled by site. Because these correlations result from differences in richness among habitat types, insect taxa may be reasonable surrogates for one another when sampling is done across habitat types. In sum, community-wide studies appear to offer a practical way to gather information about the diversity and distribution of little-known taxa

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text


  • J. B. Hughes

  • G. C. Daily

  • P. R. Ehrlich

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free