Eur. J. Entomol. 113: 462-468, 2016 | 10.14411/eje.2016.060

Niche partitioning in tenebrionid species (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) inhabiting Mediterranean coastal dunes

Simone FATTORINI1,2, Davide BERGAMASCHI3, Cristina MANTONI3, Alicia T.R. ACOSTA3, Andrea DI GIULIO3
1 Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, Coppito, 67100, L'Aquila, Italy; e-mail: simone.fattorini@univaq.it
2 CE3C - Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes / Azorean Biodiversity Group and University of the Azores, Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Açores, Portugal
3 Department of Science, Roma Tre University, Viale G. Marconi 446, 00146, Rome, Italy; e-mails: dav.bergamaschi@stud.uniroma3.it, cri.mantoni@stud.uniroma3.it, aliciateresarosario.acosta@uniroma3.it, andrea.digiulio@uniroma3.it

We analyzed the abundance, distribution and niche overlap of species (Pianka's Ojk index) in tenebrionid beetle communities inhabiting different biotopes in Tyrrhenian and Adriatic sand dunes. The rank abundance distribution of the different species has the form of a geometric series in both communities as predicted by the niche preemption hypothesis for communities in harsh environments. Mean niche overlap values did not deviate significantly from null expectations, which indicates random interspecific interactions. These results, coupled with evidence of species habitat preferences, led us to conclude that the community organization of tenebrionid species inhabiting coastal dunes is determined more by habitat preferences than interspecific competition.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae, dunes, geometric series, Mediterranean, niche overlap, niche preemption

Received: March 23, 2016; Accepted: June 28, 2016; Published online: August 30, 2016

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