Insect species diversity, abundance and body size relationships

Abstract

BIOLOGICAL diversity, population size and body size are interde-pendent1–8, but there is little consensus on the nature or causes of these relations. Here we analyse the most thoroughly sampled ecological community to date, a grassland insect community sample containing 89,596 individuals of 1,167 species. Each taxonomic order had a distinct body size at which both species richness and number of individuals were highest, but these peak sizes varied more than 100-fold among five major orders. These results suggest that there may be fewer undiscovered small insect species than previously thought. Moreover, we found a sur-prisingly strong, simple, but unreported, relation between species richness (S) and the number of individuals (I) within size classes, S = I0.5. Because this held across numerous body types and a 100,000-fold body-size range, there may be a general rule that is independent of body size for the relations among interspecific resource division, abundance and diversity.

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Siemann, E., Tilman, D. & Haarstad, J. Insect species diversity, abundance and body size relationships. Nature 380, 704–706 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1038/380704a0

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