ScienceDaily: Six Times More Insect Species in Tropical Mountains Than Predicted

Monday, 06 September 2010 19:16 Chi
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How many species of insects exist? Umeå University researcher, Genoveva Rodríguez-Castañeda, found that in tropical mountains there are six times more insects than shown in global calculations. The insects in these areas are also highly specialized in their choice of food.

"Our results urge ecologists to account for biogeographical variation when extrapolating in order to obtain global estimates," she says.

Up until now researchers have calculated insect global diversity to be highest at tropical latitudes and the estimates for total number of insect species in the world ranges from five to ten million species. However, these calculations are based from indices derived from plant insect interactions measured in tropical lowlands of Papua New Guinea. Genoveva Rodríguez-Castañeda examined if there was geographical variation in the nature of plant-insect interactions across elevation and if these differences were relevant for global estimates of insect diversity.

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