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Local Abundance Patterns of Noctuid Moths in Olive Orchards: Life-History Traits, Distribution Type and Habitat Interactions

By Sergio Pérez-Guerrero, Alberto José Redondo and José Luis Yela


Local species abundance is related to range size, habitat characteristics, distribution type, body size, and life-history variables. In general, habitat generalists and polyphagous species are more abundant in broad geographical areas. Underlying this, local abundance may be explained from the interactions between life-history traits, chorological pattern, and the local habitat characteristics. The relationship within taxa between life-history traits, distribution area, habitat characteristics, and local abundance of the noctuid moth (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) assemblage in an olive orchard, one of the most important agro-ecosystems in the Mediterranean basin, was analyzed. A total of 66 species were detected over three years of year-round weekly samplings using the light-trap method. The life-history traits examined and the distribution type were found to be related to the habitat-species association, but none of the biological strategies defined from the association to the different habitats were linked with abundance. In contrast to general patterns, dispersal ability and number of generations per year explained differences in abundance. The relationships were positive, with opportunistic taxa that have high mobility and several generations being locally more abundant. In addition, when the effect of migrant species was removed, the distribution type explained abundance differences, with Mediterranean taxa (whose baricenter is closer to the studied area) being more abundant

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