A fine-scale hotspot at the edge: Epigean arthropods from the atacama coast (paposo-taltal, antofagasta region, chile)

Jaime Pizarro-Araya, Fermín M. Alfaro, Andrés A. Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés Moreira-Muñoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Atacama Desert at its margins harbors a unique biodiversity that is still very poorly known, especially in coastal fog oases spanning from Perú towards the Atacama coast. An outstand-ing species-rich fog oasis is the latitudinal fringe Paposo-Taltal, that is considered an iconic site of the Lomas formation. This contribution is the first to reveal the knowledge on arthropods of this emblematic coastal section. We used pitfall traps to study the taxonomic composition, richness, and abundance of terrestrial arthropods in 17 sample sites along a 100 km section of the coast between 24.5 and 25.5 southern latitude, in a variety of characteristic habitats. From a total of 9154 individuals, we were able to identify 173 arthropod species grouped into 118 genera and 57 families. The most diverse group were insects, with 146 species grouped in 97 genera and 43 families, while arachnids were represented by 27 species grouped into 21 genera and 14 families. Current conservation challenges on a global scale are driving the creation and evaluation of potential conservation sites in regions with few protected areas, such as the margins of the Atacama Desert. Better taxonomic, distributional, and population knowledge is urgently needed to perform concrete conservation actions in a biodiversity hotspot at a desert edge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number916
JournalInsects
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arthropod diversity
  • Coastal desert
  • Fog oases
  • Hidden diversity
  • Homogenocene
  • Insect declines
  • Lomas formation

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