Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Krivosheeva, V., A. Solodovnikov, A. Shulepov, D. Semerikova, A. Ivanova, and M. Salnitska. 2023. Assessment of the DNA barcode libraries for the study of the poorly-known rove beetle (Staphylinidae) fauna of West Siberia. Biodiversity Data Journal 11. https://doi.org/10.3897/bdj.11.e115477

Staphylinidae, or rove beetles, are one of the mega-diverse and abundant families of the ground-living terrestrial arthropods that is taxonomically poorly known even in the regions adjacent to Europe where the fauna has been investigated for the longest time. Since DNA barcoding is a tool to accelerate biodiversity research, here we explored if the currently-available COI barcode libraries are representative enough for the study of rove beetles of West Siberia. This is a vast region adjacent to Europe with poorly-known fauna of rove beetles and from where not a single DNA barcode has hitherto been produced for Staphylinidae. First, we investigated the faunal similarity between the rove beetle faunas of the climatically compatible West Siberia in Asia, Fennoscandia in Europe and Canada and Alaska in North America. Second, we investigated barcodes available for Staphylinidae from the latter two regions in BOLD and GenBank, the world's largest DNA barcode libraries. We conclude that the rather different rove beetle faunas of Fennoscandia, on the one hand and Canada and Alaska on the other hand, are well covered in both barcode libraries that complement each other. We also find that even without any barcodes originating from specimens collected in West Siberia, this coverage is helpful for the study of rove beetles there due to the significant number of widespread species shared between West Siberia and Fennoscandia and due to the even larger number of shared genera amongst all three investigated regions. For the first time, we compiled a literature-based checklist for 726 species of the West Siberian Staphylinidae supplemented by their occurrence dataset submitted to GBIF. Our script written for mining unique (i.e. not redundant) barcodes for a given geographic area across global libraries is made available here and can be adopted for any other regions.

Klymko, J., M. D. Schlesinger, J. H. Skevington, and B. E. Young. 2023. Low extinction risk in the flower fly fauna of northeastern North America. Journal of Insect Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-023-00488-6

Introduction Flower flies (Diptera: Syrphidae; also known as hoverflies) are important pollinators of wild and cultivated plants. Other pollinators such as bees have declined, and many flower flies in Europe and Chile have been documented to be threatened with extinction. The status of other flower fly faunas is currently unknown. Aims/Methods We assessed the rangewide conservation status of flower flies that occur in Northeastern North America where there is a diverse fauna of 323 native species. Over 150,000 records, drawn from a locality database compiled for a recently published field guide, additional museum records, recent field surveys, and citizen science records, informed the assessments. Results We found that a minimum of 11 species are at risk of rangewide extinction, 267 have lower extinction risk, and 45 had insufficient data to assess. Our best estimate is that 4.0% of species are at risk, assuming data-insufficient species are at risk at the same rate as data sufficient species. The range for this estimate is 3.4–17.3% at risk, assuming that none or all data-insufficient species are at risk, respectively. Discussion Factors causing extinction risk in the fauna we studied are poorly known, although habitat destruction likely explains the decline in one species. While at-risk species mostly have saprophagus or brood parasitic larvae, trophic relationships are confounded by phylogeny (the subfamilies Eristalinae and Microdontinae account for most saprophagus or brood parasitic species). The broad geographical ranges of most species likely contributed to the low rate of imperilment. Implications for insect conservation The small percentage of at-risk flower flies in northeastern North America bodes well for the health of ecosystems there. The results contrast with the situation in Europe, underscoring geographic heterogeneity in flower fly conservation status.

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/epp.12922

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.

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13714

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.

Grigoropoulou, A., S. A. Hamid, R. Acosta, E. O. Akindele, S. A. Al‐Shami, F. Altermatt, G. Amatulli, et al. 2023. The global EPTO database: Worldwide occurrences of aquatic insects. Global Ecology and Biogeography. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13648

Motivation Aquatic insects comprise 64% of freshwater animal diversity and are widely used as bioindicators to assess water quality impairment and freshwater ecosystem health, as well as to test ecological hypotheses. Despite their importance, a comprehensive, global database of aquatic insect occurrences for mapping freshwater biodiversity in macroecological studies and applied freshwater research is missing. We aim to fill this gap and present the Global EPTO Database, which includes worldwide geo-referenced aquatic insect occurrence records for four major taxa groups: Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Odonata (EPTO). Main type of variables contained A total of 8,368,467 occurrence records globally, of which 8,319,689 (99%) are publicly available. The records are attributed to the corresponding drainage basin and sub-catchment based on the Hydrography90m dataset and are accompanied by the elevation value, the freshwater ecoregion and the protection status of their location. Spatial location and grain The database covers the global extent, with 86% of the observation records having coordinates with at least four decimal digits (11.1 m precision at the equator) in the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) coordinate reference system. Time period and grain Sampling years span from 1951 to 2021. Ninety-nine percent of the records have information on the year of the observation, 95% on the year and month, while 94% have a complete date. In the case of seven sub-datasets, exact dates can be retrieved upon communication with the data contributors. Major taxa and level of measurement Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Odonata, standardized at the genus taxonomic level. We provide species names for 7,727,980 (93%) records without further taxonomic verification. Software format The entire tab-separated value (.csv) database can be downloaded and visualized at https://glowabio.org/project/epto_database/. Fifty individual datasets are also available at https://fred.igb-berlin.de, while six datasets have restricted access. For the latter, we share metadata and the contact details of the authors.

Mukherjee, T., L. K. Sharma, M. Thakur, D. Banerjee, and K. Chandra. 2023. Whether curse or blessing: A counterintuitive perspective on global pest thrips infestation under climatic change with implications to agricultural economics. Science of The Total Environment: 161349. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.161349

The improvement and application of pest models to predict yield losses is still a challenge for the scientific community. However, pest models were targeted chiefly towards scheduling scouting or pesticide applications to deal with pest infestation. Thysanoptera (thrips) significantly impact the productivity of many economically important crops worldwide. Until now, no comprehensive study is available on the global distribution of pest thrips, as well as on the extent of cropland vulnerability worldwide. Further, nothing is known about the climate change impacts on these insects. Thus the present study was designed to map the global distribution and quantify the extent of cropland vulnerability in the present and future climate scenarios using data of identified pest thrips within the genus, i.e., Thrips, Frankliniella, and Scirtothrips. Our found significant niche contraction under the climate change scenarios and thrips may reside primarily in their thermal tolerance thresholds. About 3,98,160 km2 of cropland globally was found to be affected in the present scenario. However, it may significantly reduce to 5530 Km2 by 2050 and 1990 km2 by 2070. Further, the thrips distribution mostly getting restricted to Eastern North America, the North-western of the Indian sub-continent, and the north of Europe. Among all realms, thrips may lose ground in the Indo-Malayan realm at the most and get restricted to only 27 out of 825 terrestrial ecoregions. The agrarian communities of the infested regions may get benefit if these pests get wiped out, but on the contrary, we may lose species diversity. Moreover, the vacated niche may attract other invasive species, which may seriously impact the species composition and agricultural productivity. The present study findings can be used in making informed decisions about prioritizing future economic and research investments on the thrips in light of anticipated climate change impacts.

Belitz, M. W., V. Barve, J. R. Doby, M. M. Hantak, E. A. Larsen, D. Li, J. A. Oswald, et al. 2021. Climate drivers of adult insect activity are conditioned by life history traits C. Scherber [ed.],. Ecology Letters 24: 2687–2699. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13889

Insect phenological lability is key for determining which species will adapt under environmental change. However, little is known about when adult insect activity terminates and overall activity duration. We used community‐science and museum specimen data to investigate the effects of climate and urbanisation on timing of adult insect activity for 101 species varying in life history traits. We found detritivores and species with aquatic larval stages extend activity periods most rapidly in response to increasing regional temperature. Conversely, species with subterranean larval stages have relatively constant durations regardless of regional temperature. Species extended their period of adult activity similarly in warmer conditions regardless of voltinism classification. Longer adult durations may represent a general response to warming, but voltinism data in subtropical environments are likely underreported. This effort provides a framework to address the drivers of adult insect phenology at continental scales and a basis for predicting species response to environmental change.

Schneider, K., D. Makowski, and W. van der Werf. 2021. Predicting hotspots for invasive species introduction in Europe. Environmental Research Letters 16: 114026. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac2f19

Plant pest invasions cost billions of Euros each year in Europe. Prediction of likely places of pest introduction could greatly help focus efforts on prevention and control and thus reduce societal costs of pest invasions. Here, we test whether generic data-driven risk maps of pest introduction, val…

Busch, A. K., B. E. Wham, and J. F. Tooker. 2021. Life History, Biology, and Distribution of Pterostichus melanarius (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in North America J. Schmidt [ed.],. Environmental Entomology 50: 1257–1266. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvab090

Pterostichus melanarius (Illiger, 1798) is a Palearctic generalist predator native to Europe. It was unintentionally introduced to North America at least twice in the mid 1920s and has since become widespread in Canada and the United States. Although P. melanarius is a valuable natural enemy in many…

Orr, M. C., A. C. Hughes, D. Chesters, J. Pickering, C.-D. Zhu, and J. S. Ascher. 2021. Global Patterns and Drivers of Bee Distribution. Current Biology 31: 451-458.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.10.053

Insects are the focus of many recent studies suggesting population declines, but even invaluable pollination service providers such as bees lack a modern distributional synthesis. Here, we combine a uniquely comprehensive checklist of bee species distributions and >5,800,000 public bee occurrence re…