World‐Wide Species Richness Patterns of Tiger Beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae): Indicator Taxon for Biodiversity and Conservation Studies

David Pearson, Fabio Cassola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

282 Scopus citations

Abstract

The family of tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) is an appropriate indicator taxon for determining regional patterns of biodiversity because (1) its taxonomy is stabilized; (2) its biology and general life history are well understood, (3) individuals are readily observed and manipulated in the field, (4) the family occurs world‐wide and in a broad range of habitat types; (5) each species tends to be specialized within a narrow habitat; (6) patterns of species richness are highly correlated with those of other vertebrate and invertebrate taxa; and (7) the taxon includes species of potential economic importance. Logistical advantages provide some of the strongest arguments for selecting tiger beetles as an appropriate indicator taxon. Species numbers of tiger beetles are relatively well known for 129 countries. Eight countries alone account for more than half the world total of 2028 known species. Species numbers are also indicated for eleven biogeographical zones of the world. For gridded squares across North America, the Indian subcontinent, and Australia, species richness of tiger beetles, birds, and butterflies shows significant positive correlations. However, tiger beetle species numbers can be reliably determined within fifty hours on a single site, compared to months or years for birds or butterflies, and the advantage of using tiger beetles in conservation biology is evident

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-391
Number of pages16
JournalConservation Biology
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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