Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Lopes, D., E. de Andrade, A. Egartner, F. Beitia, M. Rot, C. Chireceanu, V. Balmés, et al. 2023. FRUITFLYRISKMANAGE: A Euphresco project for Ceratitis capitata Wiedemann (Diptera: Tephritidae) risk management applied in some European countries. EPPO Bulletin.

Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), the Mediterranean fruit fly or medfly, is one of the world's most serious threats to fresh fruits. It is highly polyphagous (recorded from over 300 hosts) and capable of adapting to a wide range of climates. This pest has spread to the EPPO region and is mainly present in the southern part, damaging Citrus and Prunus. In Northern and Central Europe records refer to interceptions or short‐lived adventive populations only. Sustainable programs for surveillance, spread assessment using models and control strategies for pests such as C. capitata represent a major plant health challenge for all countries in Europe. This article includes a review of pest distribution and monitoring techniques in 11 countries of the EPPO region. This work compiles information that was crucial for a better understanding of pest occurrence and contributes to identifying areas susceptible to potential invasion and establishment. The key outputs and results obtained in the Euphresco project included knowledge transfer about early detection tools and methods used in different countries for pest monitoring. A MaxEnt software model resulted in risk maps for C. capitata in different climatic regions. This is an important tool to help decision making and to develop actions against this pest in the different partner countries.

Wei, X., D. Xu, and Z. Zhuo. 2023. Predicting the Impact of Climate Change on the Geographical Distribution of Leafhopper, Cicadella viridis in China through the MaxEnt Model. Insects 14: 586.

Cicadella viridis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) is an omnivorous leafhopper that feeds on plant sap. It significantly reduces the yield of agricultural and forestry crops while feeding or ovipositing on the host plant. In recent years, the rapid expansion of C. viridis has posed a serious threat to agricultural and forestry crops. To study the impact of climate change on the geographical distribution of the leafhopper, the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model and ArcGIS software, combined with 253 geographic distribution records of the pest and 24 environmental variables, were used, for the first time, to predict the potential distribution of C. viridis in China under conditions of climatic change. The results showed that the currently suitable areas for C. viridis are 29.06–43° N, 65.25–85.15° E, and 93.45–128.85° E, with an estimated area of 11,231,423.79 km2, i.e., 11.66% of China. The Loess Plateau, the North China Plain, and the Shandong Peninsula are the main suitable areas. The potential distribution of the leafhopper for the high and medium suitability areas decreased under each climate scenario (except RCP8.5 in the 2090s). Several key variables that have the most significant effect on the distribution of C. viridis were identified, including the mean annual temperature (Bio1), the standard deviation of temperature seasonality (Bio4), the minimum temperature of the coldest month (Bio6), and the precipitation of the coldest quarter (Bio19). Our research provides important guidance for developing effective monitoring and pest control methods for C. viridis, given the predicted challenges of altered pest dynamics related to future climate change.

Wint, G. R. W., T. Balenghien, E. Berriatua, M. Braks, C. Marsboom, J. Medlock, F. Schaffner, et al. 2023. VectorNet: collaborative mapping of arthropod disease vectors in Europe and surrounding areas since 2010. Eurosurveillance 28.

Background Arthropod vectors such as ticks, mosquitoes, sandflies and biting midges are of public and veterinary health significance because of the pathogens they can transmit. Understanding their distributions is a key means of assessing risk. VectorNet maps their distribution in the EU and surrounding areas. Aim We aim to describe the methodology underlying VectorNet maps, encourage standardisation and evaluate output. Method s: Vector distribution and surveillance activity data have been collected since 2010 from a combination of literature searches, field-survey data by entomologist volunteers via a network facilitated for each participating country and expert validation. Data were collated by VectorNet members and extensively validated during data entry and mapping processes. Results As of 2021, the VectorNet archive consisted of ca 475,000 records relating to > 330 species. Maps for 42 species are routinely produced online at subnational administrative unit resolution. On VectorNet maps, there are relatively few areas where surveillance has been recorded but there are no distribution data. Comparison with other continental databases, namely the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and VectorBase show that VectorNet has 5–10 times as many records overall, although three species are better represented in the other databases. In addition, VectorNet maps show where species are absent. VectorNet’s impact as assessed by citations (ca 60 per year) and web statistics (58,000 views) is substantial and its maps are widely used as reference material by professionals and the public. Conclusion VectorNet maps are the pre-eminent source of rigorously validated arthropod vector maps for Europe and its surrounding areas.

Riddell, E. A., M. Mutanen, and C. K. Ghalambor. 2023. Hydric effects on thermal tolerances influence climate vulnerability in a high‐latitude beetle. Global Change Biology.

Species' thermal tolerances are used to estimate climate vulnerability, but few studies consider the role of the hydric environment in shaping thermal tolerances. As environments become hotter and drier, organisms often respond by limiting water loss to lower the risk of desiccation; however, reducing water loss may produce trade‐offs that lower thermal tolerances if respiration becomes inhibited. Here, we measured the sensitivity of water loss rate and critical thermal maximum (CTmax) to precipitation in nature and laboratory experiments that exposed click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae) to acute‐ and long‐term humidity treatments. We also took advantage of their unique clicking behavior to characterize subcritical thermal tolerances. We found higher water loss rates in the dry acclimation treatment compared to the humid, and water loss rates were 3.2‐fold higher for individuals that had experienced a recent precipitation event compared to individuals that had not. Acute humidity treatments did not affect CTmax, but precipitation indirectly affected CTmax through its effect on water loss rates. Contrary to our prediction, we found that CTmax was negatively associated with water loss rate, such that individuals with high water loss rate exhibited a lower CTmax. We then incorporated the observed variation of CTmax into a mechanistic niche model that coupled leaf and click beetle temperatures to predict climate vulnerability. The simulations indicated that indices of climate vulnerability can be sensitive to the effects of water loss physiology on thermal tolerances; moreover, exposure to temperatures above subcritical thermal thresholds is expected to increase by as much as 3.3‐fold under future warming scenarios. The correlation between water loss rate and CTmax identifies the need to study thermal tolerances from a “whole‐organism” perspective that considers relationships between physiological traits, and the population‐level variation in CTmax driven by water loss rate complicates using this metric as a straightforward proxy of climate vulnerability.

Sánchez‐Campaña, C., C. Múrria, V. Hermoso, D. Sánchez‐Fernández, J. M. Tierno de Figueroa, M. González, A. Millán, et al. 2023. Anticipating where are unknown aquatic insects in Europe to improve biodiversity conservation. Diversity and Distributions.

Aim Understanding biodiversity patterns is crucial for prioritizing future conservation efforts and reducing the current rates of biodiversity loss. However, a large proportion of species remain undescribed (i.e. unknown biodiversity), hindering our ability to conduct this task. This phenomenon, known as the ‘Linnean shortfall’, is especially relevant in highly diverse, yet endangered, taxonomic groups, such as insects. Here we explore the distributions of recently described freshwater insect species in Europe to (1) infer the potential location of unknown biodiversity hotspots and (2) determine the variables that can anticipate the distribution of unknown biodiversity. Location The European continent, including western Russia, Cyprus and Turkey. Methods Georeferenced information of all sites where new aquatic insect species were described across Europe from 2000 to 2020 was compiled. In order to understand the observed spatial patterns in richness of recently described species, spatial units were defined (level 6 of HydroBASINS) and associated with a combination of a set of socioeconomic, environmental and sampling effort descriptors. A zero-inflated Poisson regression approach was used to model the richness of newly described species within each spatial unit. Results Nine hundred and sixty-six recently described species were found: 398 Diptera, 362 Trichoptera, 105 Coleoptera, 66 Plecoptera, 28 Ephemeroptera, 3 Neuroptera, 2 Lepidoptera and 2 Odonata. The Mediterranean Basin was the region with the highest number of recently described species (74%). The richness of recently described species per spatial unit across Europe was highest at mid-elevation areas (between 400 and 1000 m), latitudes between 40 and 50° and in areas with yearly average precipitation levels of 500–1000 mm, a medium intensity of sampling effort and low population density. The percentage of protected areas in each study unit was not significantly related to the richness of recently described species. In fact, 70% of the species were found outside protected areas. Main conclusions The results highlight the urgent need to concentrate conservation efforts in freshwater ecosystems located at mid-altitude areas and out of protected areas across the Mediterranean Basin. The highest number of newly described species in those areas indicates that further monitoring efforts are required to ensure the aquatic biodiversity is adequately known and managed within a context of growing human impacts in freshwater ecosystems.

Kolanowska, M., S. Nowak, and A. Rewicz. 2022. Will Greenland be the last refuge for the continental European small-white orchid?Niche modeling of future distribution of Pseudorchis albida. Frontiers in Environmental Science 10.

Climate change affects populations of plants, animals, and fungi not only by direct modifications of their climatic niches but also by altering their ecological interactions. In this study, the future distribution of suitable habitats for the small-white orchid (Pseudorchis albida) was predicted using ecological niche modeling. In addition, the effect of global warming on the spatial distribution and availability of the pollen vectors of this species was evaluated. Due to the inconsistency in the taxonomic concepts of Pseudorchis albida, the differences in the climatic preferences of three proposed subspecies were investigated. Due to the overlap of both morphological and ecological characters of ssp. albida and ssp. tricuspis, they are considered to be synonyms, and the final analyses were carried out using ssp. albida s.l. and ssp. straminea. All of the models predict that with global warming, the number of suitable niches for these orchids will increase. This significant increase in preferred habitats is expected to occur in Greenland, but habitat loss in continental Europe will be severe. Within continental Europe, Pseudorchis albida ssp. albida will lose 44%–98% of its suitable niches and P. albida ssp. straminea will lose 46%–91% of its currently available habitats. An opposite effect of global warming was predicted for pollinators of P. albida s.l., and almost all insects studied will be subject to habitat loss. Still, within the predicted potential geographical ranges of the orchid studied, some pollen vectors are expected to occur, and these can support the long-term survival of the small-white orchid.

Liu, S., S. Xia, D. Wu, J. E. Behm, Y. Meng, H. Yuan, P. Wen, et al. 2022. Understanding global and regional patterns of termite diversity and regional functional traits. iScience: 105538.

Our understanding of broad-scale biodiversity and functional trait patterns is largely based on plants, and relatively little information is available on soil arthropods. Here, we investigated the distribution of termite diversity globally and morphological traits and diversity across China. Our analyses showed increasing termite species richness with decreasing latitude at both the globally, and within-China. Additionally, we detected obvious latitudinal trends in the mean community value of termite morphological traits on average, with body size and leg length decreasing with increasing latitude. Furthermore, temperature, NDVI and water variables were the most important drivers controlling the variation in termite richness, and temperature and soil properties were key drivers of the geographic distribution of termite morphological traits. Our global termite richness map is one of the first high resolution maps for any arthropod group and especially given the functional importance of termites, our work provides a useful baseline for further ecological analysis.

Yoon, S., and W.-H. Lee. 2022. Spatial analysis of climatic and dispersion characteristics of Xylella fastidiosa outbreak by insect vectors. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology: 102011.

Xylella fastidiosa is a pathogen that causes fatal plant diseases and damage to horticultural crops. Establishing the basic parameters is necessary to assess the risk of disease outbreaks as there are concerns about the spread of X. fastidiosa. This is done by analyzing the climatic characteristics and distribution patterns of X. fastidiosa and related insect vectors. In this study, we aimed to derive the common climatic characteristics of X. fastidiosa and three major insect vectors by using a statistical density function for four climatic factors. In addition, the distance between the occurrence areas was calculated spatiotemporally and classified into natural and anthropogenic spread. The optimal climatic conditions identified for X. fastidiosa and the insect vectors were similar, suggesting a high potential for X. fastidiosa spread when both occur in a neighborhood area. X. fastidiosa spread mostly depends on anthropogenic pathways, but natural spread by insect vectors could increase. This study provides necessary insights for the risk assessment of X. fastidiosa spread based on climate similarity and spread patterns.

Li, X., and J. J. Wiens. 2022. Estimating Global Biodiversity: the Role of Cryptic Insect Species. Systematic Biology.

Abstract How many species are there on Earth and to what groups do these species belong? These fundamental questions span systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Yet, recent estimates of overall global biodiversity have ranged wildly, from the low millions to the trillions. Insects are a pivotal group for these estimates. Insects make up roughly half of currently described extant species (across all groups), with ~1 million described species. Insect diversity is also crucial because many other taxa have species that may be unique to each insect host species, including bacteria, apicomplexan protists, microsporidian fungi, nematodes, and mites. Several projections of total insect diversity (described and undescribed) have converged on ~6 million species. However, these projections have not incorporated the morphologically cryptic species revealed by molecular data. Here, we estimate the extent of cryptic insect diversity. We perform a systematic review of studies that used explicit species-delimitation methods with multi-locus data. We estimate that each morphology-based insect species contains (on average) 3.1 cryptic species. We then use these estimates to project the overall number of species on Earth and their distribution among major groups. Our estimates suggest that overall global biodiversity may range from 563 million to 2.2 billion species. [Biodiversity; cryptic species; insects; species delimitation; species richness]

Gil‐Tapetado, D., C. D. Soria, J. F. Gómez, J. M. Sesma, and F. J. Cabrero‐Sañudo. 2022. Aridity could have driven the local extinction of a common and multivoltine butterfly. Ecological Entomology.

Identifying which species are being negatively impacted by climate change and the mechanisms driving their decline is essential to effectively protect biodiversity.Coenonympha pamphilus is a common and generalist butterfly, widely distributed throughout the Western Palearctic, being multivoltine in southern Europe. Previous studies indicate that it will not be substantially affected by climate change; however, it has seemingly disappeared from the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula in the last decades.Here, we aim to determine if it has effectively disappeared from this area, as well as identify the environmental conditions limiting its distribution and the potential causes behind this a priori local extinction.We downloaded all the occurrence records of C. pamphilus and analysed their spatial and temporal trends. To identify the climatic variables driving the distribution of this butterfly in the Iberian Peninsula, we performed an ensemble species distribution model (SDM), combining 600 individual models produced with 6 algorithms.We confirmed that C. pamphilus has not been observed in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula since 2008. Aridity was the main factor limiting the distribution of C. pamphilus in our ensemble SDM, with areas with high aridity being unsuitable for this species.We hypothesise that multivoltinism is the mechanism driving this local extirpation, as high aridity is causing host plants (Poaceae) to wither prematurely, precluding the development of the second and/or third generations of the butterfly. Even though generalist species are theoretically more resilient to climate change, other traits such as multivoltinism may increase their vulnerability and need to be further investigated.