Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Cruz, J. A., J. A. Velasco, J. Arroyo-Cabrales, and E. Johnson. 2023. Paleoclimatic Reconstruction Based on the Late Pleistocene San Josecito Cave Stratum 720 Fauna Using Fossil Mammals, Reptiles, and Birds. Diversity 15: 881.

Advances in technology have equipped paleobiologists with new analytical tools to assess the fossil record. The functional traits of vertebrates have been used to infer paleoenvironmental conditions. In Quaternary deposits, birds are the second-most-studied group after mammals. They are considered a poor paleoambiental proxy because their high vagility and phenotypic plasticity allow them to respond more effectively to climate change. Investigating multiple groups is important, but it is not often attempted. Biogeographical and climatic niche information concerning small mammals, reptiles, and birds have been used to infer the paleoclimatic conditions present during the Late Pleistocene at San Josecito Cave (~28,000 14C years BP), Mexico. Warmer and dryer conditions are inferred with respect to the present. The use of all of the groups of small vertebrates is recommended because they represent an assemblage of species that have gone through a series of environmental filters in the past. Individually, different vertebrate groups provide different paleoclimatic information. Birds are a good proxy for inferring paleoprecipitation but not paleotemperature. Together, reptiles and small mammals are a good proxy for inferring paleoprecipitation and paleotemperature, but reptiles alone are a bad proxy, and mammals alone are a good proxy for inferring paleotemperature and precipitation. The current paleoclimatic results coupled with those of a previous vegetation structure analysis indicate the presence of non-analog paleoenvironmental conditions during the Late Pleistocene in the San Josecito Cave area. This situation would explain the presence of a disharmonious fauna and the extinction of several taxa when these conditions later disappeared and do not reappear again.

García-Navarrete, P. G., T. Escalante, D. Espinosa, and J. J. Morrone. 2023. Evolutionary biogeography of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico. Journal of Natural History 57: 685–709.

The biotic assembly of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico, was analysed under an evolutionary biogeographic framework. We undertook a parsimony analysis of endemicity with progressive character elimination of 194 plant and animal species, which allowed us to identify the archipelago as a complex area or node where Nearctic and Neotropical biotic components overlap. We undertook a cladistic biogeographic analysis using the phylogenetic information of 42 taxon-area cladograms, from which one general-area cladogram was obtained: (Revillagigedo, (Sonoran, (Baja California, (Veracruzan, Pacific Lowlands)))). These results suggest that the Revillagigedo Archipelago may be classified as a province, although we prefer to keep it as a district of the Pacific Lowlands province. We identified two cenocrons (temporally integrated set of taxa) that can be dated to the Pliocene–Pleistocene: one Nearctic that dispersed from the Baja California Peninsula, and another Neotropical where the species dispersed from the Pacific coast to the islands. The geological information and the general-area cladograms allowed us to propose a geobiotic scenario for the archipelago where the islands are probably the result of volcanism associated with the oceanic Mathematician Ridge, and the arrival of the cenocrons to the archipelago may have occurred during the Pliocene–Pleistocene, after the islands were available for colonisation.

Bharti, D. K., P. Y. Pawar, G. D. Edgecombe, and J. Joshi. 2023. Genetic diversity varies with species traits and latitude in predatory soil arthropods (Myriapoda: Chilopoda). Global Ecology and Biogeography.

Aim To investigate the drivers of intra-specific genetic diversity in centipedes, a group of ancient predatory soil arthropods. Location Asia, Australasia and Europe. Time Period Present. Major Taxa Studied Centipedes (Class: Chilopoda). Methods We assembled a database of 1245 mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I sequences representing 128 centipede species from all five orders of Chilopoda. This sequence dataset was used to estimate genetic diversity for centipede species and compare its distribution with estimates from other arthropod groups. We studied the variation in centipede genetic diversity with species traits and biogeography using a beta regression framework, controlling for the effect of shared evolutionary history within a family. Results A wide variation in genetic diversity across centipede species (0–0.1713) falls towards the higher end of values among arthropods. Overall, 27.57% of the variation in mitochondrial COI genetic diversity in centipedes was explained by a combination of predictors related to life history and biogeography. Genetic diversity decreased with body size and latitudinal position of sampled localities, was greater in species showing maternal care and increased with geographic distance among conspecifics. Main Conclusions Centipedes fall towards the higher end of genetic diversity among arthropods, which may be related to their long evolutionary history and low dispersal ability. In centipedes, the negative association of body size with genetic diversity may be mediated by its influence on local abundance or the influence of ecological strategy on long-term population history. Species with maternal care had higher genetic diversity, which goes against expectations and needs further scrutiny. Hemispheric differences in genetic diversity can be due to historic climatic stability and lower seasonality in the southern hemisphere. Overall, we find that despite the differences in mean genetic diversity among animals, similar processes related to life-history strategy and biogeography are associated with the variation within them.

KRAPF, P. 2023. Contribution of the public to the modelling of the distributions of species: Occurrence and current and potential distribution of the ant Manica rubida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). European Journal of Entomology 120: 137–148.

Maps and models of the distributions of animals and plants are important for assessing their current and future status. Such models rely on information on the environment and occurrence of species. While data on the environment are often easily gathered that on the occurrence of species is often tedious and expensive to collect. An easy way to gather data on species occurrences is to use online platforms such as GBIF or iNaturalist, which rely on the public. This data can be used to produce maps and develop models of the distributions of various animals, such as ants. Even though there are a few in depth studies on the distributions of ant species, knowledge of the distribution and status of many species is lacking. One such species is the widespread ant Manica rubida, which is currently not included in the international Red List. Here, data on the occurrence of M. rubida recorded in online platforms, literature and collected during a fi eld survey were used to develop a map of its distribution and a species model, in order to evaluate its current status. A total of 611 occurrences were found and indicate that this species mainly occurs in the European Alps and other Eurasian mountain ranges. Records of most occurrences were obtained from online platforms and the number increased signifi cantly over the last two decades and indicate this species occurs over an altitudinal range of 3000 m. The species model revealed that there are potential areas of suitable habitat for M. rubida in the Pyrenees, European Uplands, Pindus Mountains, Balkan Mountains and Pontic mountains. Currently, M. rubida does not seem to be threatened by climate change, but it is recommended that the monitoring of its distribution should be continued. This study reveals that data from online platforms can provide the information necessary for developing species models, which can be used to assess the current status and estimate the potential eff ect of climate change on a species and plan conservation strategies.

Huber, B. A., G. Meng, J. Král, I. M. Ávila Herrera, M. A. Izquierdo, and L. S. Carvalho. 2023. High and dry: integrative taxonomy of the Andean spider genus Nerudia (Araneae: Pholcidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Abstract Ninetinae are a group of poorly known spiders that do not fit the image of ‘daddy long-legs spiders’ (Pholcidae), the family to which they belong. They are mostly short-legged, tiny and live in arid environments. The previously monotypic Andean genus Nerudia exemplifies our poor knowledge of Ninetinae: only seven adult specimens from two localities in Chile and Argentina have been reported in the literature. We found representatives of Nerudia at 24 of 52 localities visited in 2019, mostly under rocks in arid habitats, up to 4450 m a.s.l., the highest known record for Pholcidae. With now more than 400 adult specimens, we revise the genus, describing ten new species based on morphology (including SEM) and COI barcodes. We present the first karyotype data for Nerudia and for its putative sister-genus Gertschiola. These two southern South American genera share a X1X2X3Y sex chromosome system. We model the distribution of Nerudia, showing that the genus is expected to occur in the Atacama biogeographic province (no record so far) and that its environmental niche is phylogenetically conserved. This is the first comprehensive revision of any Ninetinae genus. It suggests that focused collecting may uncover a considerable diversity of these enigmatic spiders.

Hausdorf, B. 2023. Distribution patterns of established alien land snail species in the Western Palaearctic Region. NeoBiota 81: 1–32.

AbstractEstablished alien land snail species that were introduced into the Western Palaearctic Region from other regions and their spread in the Western Palaearctic are reviewed. Thirteen of the 22 species came from North America, three from Sub-Saharan Africa, two from the Australian region, three probably from the Oriental Region and one from South America. The establishment of outdoor populations of these species was usually first seen at the western or southern rims of the Western Palearctic. Within Europe, the alien species usually spread from south to north and from west to east. The latitudinal ranges of the alien species significantly increased with increasing time since the first record of introduction to the Western Palearctic. The latitudinal mid-points of the Western Palaearctic and native ranges of the species are significantly correlated when one outlier is omitted. There is a general trend of poleward shifts of the ranges of the species in the Western Palaearctic compared to their native ranges. There are three reasons for these shifts: (1) the northward expansion of some species in Western Europe facilitated by the oceanic climate, (2) the impediment to the colonisation of southern latitudes in the Western Palaearctic due to their aridity and (3) the establishment of tropical species in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Most of the species are small, not carnivorous and unlikely to cause serious ecological or economic damage. In contrast, the recently introduced large veronicellid slugs from Sub-Saharan Africa and the giant African snail Lissachatinafulica could cause economic damage in irrigated agricultural areas or greenhouses in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Jung, J., S. Kim, S. Jung, and W. Lee. 2022. Spatial and climatic analyses for predicting potential distribution of an invasive ant, Linepithema humile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomological Science 25.

The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is an invasive species that rapidly enters into new areas, causing worldwide ecological concern. Early assessment of its potential habitat could indicate areas that we need to pay attention to in advance, to prevent its invasion; therefore, in this study we aimed to predict the potential spatial distribution of the Argentine ant and analyze the climatic characteristics of its occurrence sites. The CLIMEX model was used to predict the spatial distribution of this ant species, while the probability density function was employed to extract climatic preferences in places where their main habitats are located. High climatic suitability was predicted in the eastern United States, eastern South America, central Africa, eastern Australia, and a few regions in India and China, suggesting the high possibility of its invasion worldwide. The frequency of occurrence was highest at approximately 20°C monthly average maximum temperature, 8°C monthly average minimum temperature, and 10 mm monthly precipitation. In addition, the occurrence records of Argentine ants were mostly shown to be above sub‐zero temperatures. We expect that these results can be used to identify new areas exposed to the risk of Argentine ant invasion and for further application to establish monitoring strategies in advance.

Lee, W.-H., J.-W. Song, S.-H. Yoon, and J.-M. Jung. 2022. Spatial Evaluation of Machine Learning-Based Species Distribution Models for Prediction of Invasive Ant Species Distribution. Applied Sciences 12: 10260.

Recent advances in species distribution models (SDMs) associated with artificial intelligence (AI) and increased volumes of available data for model variables have allowed reliable evaluation of the potential distribution of any species. A reliable SDM requires suitable occurrence records and variables with optimal model structures. In this study, we developed three different machine learning-based SDMs [MaxEnt, random forest (RF), and multi-layer perceptron (MLP)] to predict the global potential distribution of two invasive ants under current and future climates. These SDMs showed that the potential distribution of Solenopsis invicta would be expanded by climatic change, whereas it would not significantly change for Anoplolepis gracilipes. The models were compared using model performance metrics, and the optimal model structure and spatial projection were selected. The MaxEnt exhibited high performance, while the MLP model exhibited low performance, with the largest variation by climate change. Random forest showed the smallest potential distribution area, but it was robust considering the number of occurrence records and changes in model variables. All the models showed reliable performance, but the difference in performance and projection size suggested that optimal model selection based on data availability, model variables, study objectives, or an ensemble approach was necessary to develop a comprehensive SDM to minimize modeling uncertainty. We expect that this study will help with the use of AI-based SDMs for the evaluation and risk assessment of invasive ant species.

Monroy-Gamboa, A. G. 2022. Differences between Northern and Southern Female Coyotes. Western North American Naturalist 82.

The coyote (Canis latrans) has a wide distribution range, spanning boreal forests from the north of the continent to tropical environments in Central America, showing great adaptation and plasticity. Bergmann's rule states that individuals inhabiting colder climates are larger than those in warmer climates. It is suggested that in carnivore species, litter size is influenced by allometric constraints such as maternal body size. The aim of this study is to analyze the relations using correlation between female coyote mass, latitude, and litter size. Using data compiled from the literature, I carried out statistical analyses to correlate female body size, litter size, and latitude for coyotes across their distribution range. The results indicated a soft significant correlation between female body size and latitude, confirming Bergmann's rule. However, no significant correlation was found between litter size and latitude or between litter size and female body size; litter size in coyotes remains roughly uniform across their distribution range.

Buckner, M. A., and B. N. Danforth. 2022. Climate-driven range shifts of a rare specialist bee, Macropis nuda (Melittidae), and its host plant, Lysimachia ciliata (Primulaceae). Global Ecology and Conservation 37: e02180.

Earth's climate is on track to surpass the proposed mean global temperature change limit of 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, threatening to disrupt ecosystems globally. Yet, studies on temperate bee response to climate change are limited, with most studies of non-Apis bees focusing on the eusocial genus Bombus. Here, we assess the response of a rare habitat and host plant specialist bee, Macropis nuda, to projected climate change scenarios. We use species distribution models of M. nuda and its host plant, Lysimachia ciliata, trained on publicly available occurrence records, to evaluate bee distribution and habitat suitability changes under four climate change scenarios. We find that the bee and host plant distributions respond synchronously to increased greenhouse gas emissions, which result in range-wide habitat suitability loss and a northward range shift. These results provide an important example of a temperate solitary bee's response to climate change and help inform conservation efforts to preserve pollinator biodiversity and pollinator-host plant relationships.