Eur. J. Entomol. 114: 140-146, 2017 | 10.14411/eje.2017.019

Biodiversity - economy or ecology? Long-term study of changes in the biodiversity of aphids living in steppe-like grasslands in Central Europe

Barbara OSIADACZ1, Roman HAŁAJ2, Damian CHMURA3
1 Department of Entomology and Environmental Protection, Poznań University of Life Sciences, D±browskiego St. 159, PL 60-594 Poznań, Poland; e-mail: osiadacz@up.poznan.pl
2 The Upper Silesian Nature Society, Huberta St. 35, PL 40-543 Katowice, Poland; e-mail: roman-halaj@hotmail.com
3 Institute of Environmental Protection and Engineering, University of Bielsko-Biała, Willowa 2, PL 43-309 Bielsko-Biała, Poland; e-mail: dchmura@ath.bielsko.pl

This paper examines the changes in the species composition of aphids living in dry calcareous grasslands in Central Europe over a 25-year period. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first analysis of this type in the world that takes into account both previous and current data on species richness as well as groups of aphids that are distinguishable on the basis of biological and ecological criteria such as host-alternation and feeding types, life cycle, ecological niche, symbiosis with ants and their ecological functional groups. Over the period of more than 25 years, there has been a significant decrease in aphid α-diversity, from 171 to 105 species. The gain, which is in species not previously recorded, was 17 taxa. The loss of biodiversity occurred despite the fact that these habitats are protected and are valuable regional biodiversity hotspots. The losses are mostly related to intensive human activity in adjacent areas, which, unfortunately, has resulted in the isolation of these small, protected environmental islands by the removal of ecological corridors. Since, as is shown in this study, the frequencies between individual biological and ecological groups of aphids have been retained, it would be possible to restrict this loss of biodiversity if appropriate actions are taken.

Keywords: Hemiptera, Aphidoidea, bio-ecological groups, community structure, protected habitats, loss of biodiversity, human impact, NMDS methods, regional hotspots

Received: October 3, 2016; Accepted: February 8, 2017; Published online: March 14, 2017

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