Traits in Lepidoptera assemblages are differently influenced by local and landscape scale factors in farmland habitat islands

Abstract

Semi-natural grassland islands have a key role in slowing down biodiversity decline in intensively cultivated agricultural landscapes. Assemblages in such habitat patches are not only limited by local habitat quality, but are also influenced by the suitability and distribution of different habitat types in the surrounding landscape. If we want to preserve a functionally diverse Lepidoptera fauna, both local and landscape scale environmental effects, including land use and management, should be considered. In the present study, we describe trait-based characteristics of noctuid dominated macro-moth assemblages (MMAs) in grassland remnants of an intensively cultivated agricultural area. By gathering environmental data from local to landscape scales, we aimed to identify the most influential scales, possible interactions between scales and the role of integrated arable fields in shaping MMAs. We conducted abundance weighted trait-based multivariate analysis of the assemblages based on six trait groups. Both local and landscape scale variables had important influence, acting on different traits of the assemblages. By variance partitioning, we could identify variables that exerted maximal effect at 50 m and 250 m radii circles. Variables describing local vegetation and identity of neighbouring crop were responsible for species richness and rarity status, while the area of arable and wooded habitats within 250 m were responsible for total catch and pest status related traits. There was significant interaction between principal components axes representing local and landscape variables. Rarity, more than other traits, was influenced by the interaction. Integrated fields had no effect on MMAs. The present study highlights the contributions of both local and landscape scales to the shaping of MMAs and suggests that the preservation of both local habitat quality and landscape heterogeneity are important if we would like to maintain species rich and functionally diverse Lepidoptera fauna.

Abbreviations

AES:

Agri-Environmental Schemes

AES_Arabl:

Arable fields in AES

Arabl:

Arable fields

HumBott:

Bottom Humidity

Meadw:

Meadow habitats

MMA:

noctuid dominated Macro-Moth Assemblage

NBcrop:

Neighbouring crop

NBRic:

Neighbourhood Richness

Physgn:

Physiognomy

Shrub:

Shrub dominance

Slope:

Slope steepness

South:

Southern exposition

SpecNumb:

Number of Species

TotCatch:

Total number of individuals caught

VegHgh:

Vegetation Height

VegRic:

Vegetation Richness

Wetl:

Wetland

wMobil:

abundance weighted Mobility score

Wood:

Wooded habitats

wPest:

abundance weighted Pest status score

wSize:

abundance weighted body Size score

wVoltin:

abundance weighted Voltinism score

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Samu, F., Szabóky, C., Horváth, A. et al. Traits in Lepidoptera assemblages are differently influenced by local and landscape scale factors in farmland habitat islands. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 17, 28–39 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1556/168.2016.17.1.5

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Keywords

  • Agri-environmental scheme
  • Baited trap
  • Landscape use
  • Macro-moth
  • Scale dependent
  • Trait-based