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Epigean Tenebrionids (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) from Northern arid Patagonia: ecological remarks and their relationship with anthropic desertification.
CHELI, G. H.; FLORES, G. E.; MARTÍNEZ, F. J.; MARTÍNEZ ROMÁN, N.; PAZOS, G. E.; VIDELA, L.; OLIVERA, P. ; ALFARO, M. ; GIACOMINO, S.
Simposio; Fourth International Tenebrionoidea Symposium; 2016
A mixed temperature-precipitation gradient causes great environmental heterogeneity in arid Patagonia that determines complex biotic communities. Several environmental classifications were made in attempts to understand the effects of this heterogeneity, but those classifications varie according to the author. Furthermore, in the context of global climate change, desertification is the most important consequence of human activities in arid Patagonia, and its main consequence is the loss of biodiversity. Darkling beetles are among the most abundant, diverse and best known insects of this region, and they are particularly suitable for monitoring environmental changes. In this work the structure and composition of tenebrionid beetles associations in the majors environmental units of northern arid Patagonia are described. Also, the effects of anthropogenic desertification over these beetles in each environmental unit are evaluated. Six sites on each environmental unit, three conserved and three desertified, were selected. Then an entomological survey into these selected sites was performed using pitfall traps. The occurrence of thirty eight species, arranged in fifteen genera, six tribes and two subfamilies, have been recorded. The most specious genus was Nyctelia Berthold with ten species. The two most abundant species were Nyctelia rotundipennis Fairmaire and Nyctelia unicostata Fairmaire. Also there were many rare species. The tenebrionid assemblages were different between environmental units. The most characteristic species were Letynoderes nordenskioldi Kulzer, Hylithus tentyroides (Lacordaire), Epitragus spp Latreille in Monte; Nyctelia dorsata Fairmaire, Nyctelia latiplicata Kulzer, Nyctelia blapoides Fairmaire in Distrito Central; Nyctelia rotundipennis, Nyctelia unicostata, Nyctelia fitzroyi Waterhouse, Emmallodera rugosa Silvestro & Flores in Sierras and Mesetas and Pastizales Subandinos. Desertification produced alterations in tenebrionid species assemblages of all environmental units. These results have been integrated and their ecological outstanding are discussed.