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Completing Linnaeus's inventory of the Swedish insect fauna: Only 5,000 species left?

Ronquist, Fredrik and Forshage, Mattias and Haggqvist, Sibylle and Karlsson, Dave and Hovmolle, Rasmus and Bergsten, Johannes and Holston, Kevin and Britton, Tom and Abenius, Johan and Andersson, Bengt and Buhl, Peter Neerup and Coulianos, Carl-Cedric and Fjellberg, Arne and Gertsson, Carl-Axel and Hellqvist, Sven and Jaschhof, Mathias and Kjaerandsen, Jostein and Klopfstein, Seraina and Kobro, Sverre and Liston, Andrew and Meier, Rudolf and Pollet, Marc and Riedel, Matthias and Rohacek, Jindrich and Schuppenhauer, Meike and Stigenberg, Julia and Struwe, Ingemar and Taeger, Andreas and Ulefors, Sven-Olof and Varga, Oleksandr and Withers, Phil and Gärdenfors, Ulf (2020). Completing Linnaeus's inventory of the Swedish insect fauna: Only 5,000 species left? PLoS ONE. 15 , e0228561 , 1-30
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Abstract

Despite more than 250 years of taxonomic research, we still have only a vague idea about the true size and composition of the faunas and floras of the planet. Many biodiversity inventories provide limited insight because they focus on a small taxonomic subsample or a tiny geographic area. Here, we report on the size and composition of the Swedish insect fauna, thought to represent roughly half of the diversity of multicellular life in one of the largest European countries. Our results are based on more than a decade of data from the Swedish Taxonomy Initiative and its massive inventory of the country's insect fauna, the Swedish Malaise Trap Project The fauna is considered one of the best known in the world, but the initiative has nevertheless revealed a surprising amount of hidden diversity: more than 3,000 new species (301 new to science) have been documented so far. Here, we use three independent methods to analyze the true size and composition of the fauna at the family or subfamily level: (1) assessments by experts who have been working on the most poorly known groups in the fauna; (2) estimates based on the proportion of new species discovered in the Malaise trap inventory; and (3) extrapolations based on species abundance and incidence data from the inventory. For the last method, we develop a new estimator, the combined non-parametric estimator, which we show is less sensitive to poor coverage of the species pool than other popular estimators. The three methods converge on similar estimates of the size and composition of the fauna, suggesting that it comprises around 33,000 species. Of those, 8,600 (26%) were unknown at the start of the inventory and 5,000 (15%) still await discovery. We analyze the taxonomic and ecological composition of the estimated fauna, and show that most of the new species belong to Hymenoptera and Diptera groups that are decomposers or parasitoids. Thus, current knowledge of the Swedish insect fauna is strongly biased taxonomically and ecologically, and we show that similar but even stronger biases have distorted our understanding of the fauna in the past. We analyze latitudinal gradients in the size and composition of known European insect faunas and show that several of the patterns contradict the Swedish data, presumably due to similar knowledge biases. Addressing these biases is critical in understanding insect biomes and the ecosystem services they provide. Our results emphasize the need to broaden the taxonomic scope of current insect monitoring efforts, a task that is all the more urgent as recent studies indicate a possible worldwide decline in insect faunas.

Authors/Creators:Ronquist, Fredrik and Forshage, Mattias and Haggqvist, Sibylle and Karlsson, Dave and Hovmolle, Rasmus and Bergsten, Johannes and Holston, Kevin and Britton, Tom and Abenius, Johan and Andersson, Bengt and Buhl, Peter Neerup and Coulianos, Carl-Cedric and Fjellberg, Arne and Gertsson, Carl-Axel and Hellqvist, Sven and Jaschhof, Mathias and Kjaerandsen, Jostein and Klopfstein, Seraina and Kobro, Sverre and Liston, Andrew and Meier, Rudolf and Pollet, Marc and Riedel, Matthias and Rohacek, Jindrich and Schuppenhauer, Meike and Stigenberg, Julia and Struwe, Ingemar and Taeger, Andreas and Ulefors, Sven-Olof and Varga, Oleksandr and Withers, Phil and Gärdenfors, Ulf
Title:Completing Linnaeus's inventory of the Swedish insect fauna: Only 5,000 species left?
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:15
Article number:e0228561
Number of Pages:30
Publisher:PLoS
ISSN:1932-6203
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Biological Systematics
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-106521
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-106521
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0228561
Web of Science (WoS)000535264000008
ID Code:17232
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Swedish Species Information Centre
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:10 Jul 2020 09:55
Metadata Last Modified:17 Aug 2020 20:55

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