Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Melin, A., C. M. Beale, J. C. Manning, and J. F. Colville. 2024. Fine‐scale bee species distribution models: Hotspots of richness and endemism in South Africa with species‐area comparisons. Insect Conservation and Diversity. https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12715

While global patterns of bee diversity have been modelled, our understanding of fine‐scale regional patterns is more limited, particularly for under‐sampled regions such as Africa. South Africa is among the exceptions on the African continent; its bee fauna (ca. 1253 species) has been well collected and documented, including mass digitising of its natural history collections. It is a region with high floral diversity, high habitat heterogeneity and variable rainfall seasonality.Here, we combine a South African bee species distributional database (877 bee species) with a geospatial modelling approach to determine fine‐scale (~11 × 11 km grid cell resolution) hotspots of bee species richness, endemism and range‐restricted species.Our analyses, based on the probabilities of occurrence surfaces for each species across 108,803 two‐minute grid cells, reveal three bee hotspots of richness: Winter rainfall, Aseasonal rainfall and Early‐to‐late summer rainfall. These hotspots contain large numbers of endemic and geographically restricted taxa. Hotspots with particularly high bee diversity include the Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Desert biomes; the latter showing 6–20 times more species per unit area than other biomes. Our results conform with global species‐area patterns: areas of higher‐than‐expected bee density are largely concentrated in Mediterranean and arid habitats.This study further enhances our knowledge in identifying regional and global hotspots of richness and endemism for a keystone group of insects and enabling these to be accounted for when setting conservation priorities.

Prado-Cuellar, B. R., L. A. Lara-Pérez, M. Trujano-Ortega, S. Machkour-M’Rabet, and C. Pozo. 2023. Is the Existence of Two Lineages for Hamadryas glauconome (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) True? Molecular and Ecological Evidence. Diversity 15: 1196. https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121196

The genus Hamadryas has a neotropical distribution. In 1983, the subspecies H. glauconome grisea from Mexico was recognized with subtle and subjective differences in color, size and distribution and limited to the northwest. Since then, there has been a debate about whether it is a different lineage from H. glauconome because adult-stage morphology studies have not found significant differences. This study aims to delimitate H. g. glauconome and H. g. grisea lineages with two sources of evidence: ecological and molecular—the former through ecological niche modeling using the accessible area for the species and estimating the minimum volume ellipsoid overlapping as a fundamental niche using occurrences databases. The molecular evidence is found through the methods of phylogenetic inference and the generalized mixed yule coalescent approach, using sequences of cytochrome oxidase I. Ecological and molecular evidence suggest that H. g. grisea is a different lineage from H. glauconome. Also, molecular evidence of a third lineage from the south of Texas needs further study. This study suggests that different evidence should be provided when morphology is not enough for delimiting species, especially in recently diverged species. Furthermore, the H. g. grisea cytochrome oxidase I sequence (658 bp) is published for the first time.

Phelps, J. M., L. Y. Santiago-Rosario, D. Paredes-Burneo, and K. E. Harms. 2023. A Comprehensive Natural History Review of Chlosyne lacinia (Geyer, 1837; Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae): Patterns of Phenotypic Variation and Geographic Distribution. The Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 77. https://doi.org/10.18473/lepi.77i4.a1

We conducted a literature review and added some novel observations of the natural history of the bordered patch butterfly, Chlosyne lacinia (Nymphalidae). Regarding color and patterning, C. lacinia is considered one of the most variable butterflies in the Western Hemisphere, with phenotypic variation occurring in larvae, pupae, and adults. Several studies have been conducted on C. lacinia, partly due to its notable phenotypic variation and status as a pest species of domestic sunflowers (Helianthus annuus). Even so, the origins, development, and maintenance of phenotypic variation remain poorly known. Having the most extensive geographic range of any species in its genus, C. lacinia ranges from Argentina to the mid-latitude midwestern United States. Moreover, C. lacinia displays six distinct adult morphs across its geographic range. Morphologically continuous, relatively geographically narrow gradients between adjacent morphs have given rise to alternative interpretations about subspecies. By providing the first comprehensive maps of adult morphs, including data collected via citizen science in iNaturalist, we provide directions for further research into the species' biology.

Mu, C., and P. Li. 2023. Assessing the invasion risk of Chelydra serpentina in China under current and future climate change scenarios. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2023.1277058

Chelydra serpentina, a species introduced to China for aquaculture purposes, is commonly found in its natural habitats within the country. The invasion of C. serpentina poses potential threats to both the biodiversity of China and human health. The potential distribution of C. serpentina has been simulated using the species distribution model – MaxEnt, incorporating global distribution data, climate, and land cover variables. Our simulations encompasses both current conditions and four future climate change scenarios. Currently, the potential distribution is concentrated in central, eastern, and southeastern regions of China, with the central and eastern regions facing the highest risk of invasion. Under future climate change scenarios, the distribution area may expand by 30–90%, and multiple provinces will face a more severe threat of invasion. This study presents the inaugural simulation of the potential invasion range of C. serpentina under current climatic conditions. Moreover, it reveals that climate change is likely to contribute to the expansion of its invasive range, thus furnishing a reference foundation for scientific prevention and control measures. We propose integrating citizen science and eDNA technologies into species monitoring to enhance the efficiency of detecting invasive species. This research has filled the gap in the research on the invasive distribution range of C. serpentina in China and globally, while also providing novel perspectives on the invasion control of this species.

Feuerborn, C., G. Quinlan, R. Shippee, T. L. Strausser, T. Terranova, C. M. Grozinger, and H. M. Hines. 2023. Variance in heat tolerance in bumble bees correlates with species geographic range and is associated with several environmental and biological factors. Ecology and Evolution 13. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.10730

Globally, insects have been impacted by climate change, with bumble bees in particular showing range shifts and declining species diversity with global warming. This suggests heat tolerance is a likely factor limiting the distribution and success of these bees. Studies have shown high intraspecific variance in bumble bee thermal tolerance, suggesting biological and environmental factors may be impacting heat resilience. Understanding these factors is important for assessing vulnerability and finding environmental solutions to mitigate effects of climate change. In this study, we assess whether geographic range variation in bumble bees in the eastern United States is associated with heat tolerance and further dissect which other biological and environmental factors explain variation in heat sensitivity in these bees. We examine heat tolerance by caste, sex, and rearing condition (wild/lab) across six eastern US bumble bee species, and assess the role of age, reproductive status, body size, and interactive effects of humidity and temperature on thermal tolerance in Bombus impatiens. We found marked differences in heat tolerance by species that correlate with each species' latitudinal range, habitat, and climatic niche, and we found significant variation in thermal sensitivity by caste and sex. Queens had considerably lower heat tolerance than workers and males, with greater tolerance when queens would first be leaving their natal nest, and lower tolerance after ovary activation. Wild bees tended to have higher heat tolerance than lab reared bees, and body size was associated with heat tolerance only in wild‐caught foragers. Humidity showed a strong interaction with heat effects, pointing to the need to regulate relative humidity in thermal assays and consider its role in nature. Altogether, we found most tested biological conditions impact thermal tolerance and highlight the stages of these bees that will be most sensitive to future climate change.

Vereecken, N. J., C. Ruiz, L. Marshall, M. Pérez-Gil, J.-M. Molenberg, B. Jacobi, F. La Roche, and J. R. Litman. 2023. A new small carder bee species from the eastern Canary Islands (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae, Anthidiini). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 96: 983–1015. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.96.111550

AbstractRecent field surveys in the eastern Canary Islands (Spain), followed by contributions of new occurrence records through the citizen science platform iNaturalist.com and the social media photo repository Flickr.com have revealed the presence of an overlooked small carder bee species (genus Pseudoanthidium Friese (Megachilidae: Anthidiini)) on the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Here, we combined morphology, DNA barcodes (mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, COI) and ecological data (distribution, altitudinal ranges and environmental niche classification) to describe this species as Pseudoanthidium (Pseudoanthidium) jacobiisp. nov. We provide an illustrated description along with diagnostic morphological characters to separate it from P. (P.) canariense (Mavromoustakis, 1954), the only other congeneric species known from the neighbouring islands of La Gomera, Tenerife and Gran Canaria and from which it is separated by a genetic distance of 2.7%. We also evaluated the extent of shared environmental niche space among the two Pseudoanthidium species, and our results show a significant difference in elevation range as well as a very small (less than 1%) overlap between the modelled climatic niche of P.jacobii and that of P.canariense. Given the extremely restricted geographic distribution and the fragile and isolated nature of the habitat and host plants of this new island endemic species, we assign it an IUCN conservation status of “EN” (endangered) and discuss avenues for future research on the ecology and conservation of wild bees in the Canary Islands and neighbouring regions.

de Pedro, D., F. S. Ceccarelli, R. Vandame, J. Mérida, and P. Sagot. 2023. Congruence between species richness and phylogenetic diversity in North America for the bee genus Diadasia (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Biodiversity and Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-023-02706-8

The current ecological crisis stemming from the loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, highlights the urgency of documenting diversity and distribution. Bees are a classical example of an ecologically and economically important group, due to their high diversity and varied ecosystem services, especially pollination. Here, two common biodiversity indices, namely species richness and phylogenetic diversity, are evaluated geographically to determine the best approach for selecting areas of conservation priority. The model organisms used in this study are the North American species belonging to the bee genus Diadasia (Apidae). Based on the results obtained by analyzing distributional records and a molecular phylogeny, we can see that species richness and phylogenetic diversity are closely linked, although phylogenetic diversity provides a more detailed assessment of the spatial distribution of diversity. Therefore, while either one of these commonly used indices are valid as far as selecting areas of conservation priority, we recommend, if possible, to include genetic information in biodiversity and conservation studies.

Boone, M. L., Z. M. Portman, I. Lane, and S. Rao. 2023. Occupancy of Bombus affinis (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Minnesota is highest in developed areas when standardized surveys are employed D. Lupi [ed.],. Environmental Entomology. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvad088

Mounting evidence of bumble bee declines and the listing of the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis Cresson) as federally endangered in the United States in 2017 and Canada in 2012 has stimulated an interest in monitoring and conservation. Understanding the influence of land use on occupancy patterns of imperiled species is crucial to successful recovery planning. Using detection data from community surveys, we assessed land use associations for 7 bumble bee species in Minnesota, USA, including B. affinis. We used multispecies occupancy models to assess the effect of 3 major land use types (developed, agricultural, and natural) within 0.5 and 1.5 km on occupancy of 7 Bombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) species, while accounting for detection uncertainty. We found that B. affinis occupancy and detection were highest in developed landscapes and lowest in agricultural landscapes, representing an inverse relationship with the relative landcover ratios of these landscapes in Minnesota. Occupancy of 2 bumble bee species had strong positive associations with natural landscapes within 1.5 km and 2 species had strong negative associations with agricultural landscapes within 1.5 km. Our results suggest that best practices for imperiled Bombus monitoring and recovery planning depends upon the surrounding major land use patterns. We provide recommendations for urban planning to support B. affinis based on conservation success in the metropolitan areas of Minneapolis-St. Paul. We also encourage substantial survey effort be employed in agricultural and natural regions of the state historically occupied by B. affinis to determine the current occupancy state.

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.

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. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.es.2023.28.26.2200666

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.