USING TAXONOMIC REVISION DATA TO ESTIMATE THE GLOBAL SPECIES RICHNESS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF UNDESCRIBED SPECIES OF DIVING BEETLES (COLEOPTERA: DYTISCIDAE)

Viktor Nilsson-Örtman, Anders N. Nilsson

Abstract


Many methods used for estimating species richness are either difficult to use on poorly known taxa or require input data that are laborious and expensive to collect. In this paper we apply a method which takes advantage of the carefully conducted tests of how the described diversity compares to real species richness that are inherent in taxonomic revisions. We analyze the quantitative outcome from such revisions with respect to body size, zoogeographical region and phylogenetic relationship. The best fitting model is used to predict the diversity of unrevised groups if these would have been subject to as rigorous species level hypothesis-testing as the revised groups. The sensitivity of the predictive model to single observations is estimated by bootstrapping over resampled subsets of the original data. The Dytiscidae is with its 4080 described species (end of May 2009) the most diverse group of aquatic beetles and have a world-wide distribution. Extensive taxonomic work has been carried out on the family but still the number of described species increases exponentially in most zoogeographical regions making many commonly used methods of estimation difficult to apply. We provide independent species richness estimates of subsamples for which species richness estimates can be reached through extrapolation and compare these to the species richness estimates obtained through the method using revision data. We estimate there to be 5405 species of dytiscids, a 1.32-fold increase over the present number of described species. The undescribed diversity is likely to be biased towards species with small body size from tropical regions outside of Africa.

Keywords


Biodiversity, taxonomic bias, estimation, species richness, species description, Dytiscidae

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17161/bi.v7i1.3631

Copyright (c) 2010 Viktor Nilsson-Örtman, Anders N. Nilsson



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