Arthropods as surrogates of diversity at different spatial scales

Clara Gaspar, Kevin J. Gaston, Paulo A V Borges

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23 Citations (Scopus)


This study evaluates the effectiveness of taxonomic, colonization and trophic groups of arthropods from native forests of the Azores archipelago as surrogates of the diversity of other arthropod groups and of the remaining arthropods. Consistency in the performance of surrogates was tested across three spatial scales and using two measures of diversity. Pitfall and beating samples from 109 transects, 18 forest fragments and seven islands were analysed. The results showed that Araneae, Hemiptera and small orders taxonomic groups; native, endemic and introduced colonization groups; and the herbivores trophic group were consistent surrogates of the remaining diversity across the three spatial scales analysed, for both alpha and dissimilarity diversities. However, none of the subsets considered was significantly related with all of the other subsets at any of the three spatial scales. The effectiveness of surrogacy was dependent on the spatial level considered, and groups behaved inconsistently depending on the measure of diversity used. The value of a group as a diversity surrogate should be evaluated for a study area for a given spatial scale and diversity measure, in accordance with the scale and measure that will be used for biodiversity assessments and monitoring programs in that area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1294
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthropods
  • Azores
  • Diversity surrogate
  • Native forest
  • Spatial scale

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