The Atacama desert's southern margin includes a poorly explored area of high biotic value with natural areas that are crucial for diversity and conservation. We used pitfall traps to study epigean beetles across 17 sites located along the coast between the Paposo Norte Natural Monument and the Paposo Priority Site. We recorded a total of 3,237 epigean beetles specimens, belonging to 26 families and 97 species. The most well represented families in terms of richness were Curculionidae and Tenebrionidae, and most of the remaining families were represented by fewer than five species. The rarefaction analysis showed that the sampling effort was low, suggesting the presence of a hidden and underestimated diversity in the area under study. The ordination analysis showed a clear correlation between elevation and the epigean beetles assemblage, but richness was concentrated in shrubland environments within the Paposo Priority Site and consisted of a large number of rare species (singletons) and species restricted to a few sites of this coastal strip. The high richness estimated for the study area, stress an urgent need to include these units under governmental conservation programs aimed at tackling the multiple threats identified in these fragile arid coastal ecosystems.
- Coastal desert
- Coastal lomes
- Fine-scale hotspot
- Paposo Norte Natural Monument