Oecologia

, Volume 137, Issue 4, pp 591–602

Local species immigration, extinction, and turnover of butterflies in relation to habitat area and habitat isolation

  • Jochen Krauss
  • Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter
  • Teja Tscharntke
Community Ecology

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-003-1353-x

Cite this article as:
Krauss, J., Steffan-Dewenter, I. & Tscharntke, T. Oecologia (2003) 137: 591. doi:10.1007/s00442-003-1353-x

Abstract

Temporal dynamics of insect communities in terrestrial habitat fragments have been rarely studied. Here it was tested whether immigration, extinction, and turnover of butterfly species change with area and isolation of 31 calcareous grasslands. The area ranged from 0.03 to 5.14 ha, the isolation index from 2,100 to 86,000 (edge-to-edge distance 55–1,894 m). In both study years (1996, 2000), the total number of individuals (16,466, 15,101) and species (60, 54) sampled across all sites were similar and number of species increased with area in both years indicating an equilibrium. Rates of extinction (38% for habitat specialists vs. 20% for generalists) and turnover (51% vs. 35%) were higher, and rates of immigration (11% vs. 30%) were lower for habitat specialists than for generalists. Extinction and turnover rates decreased with increasing fragment size for both specialist (n =25 species) and generalist (n =36) butterflies, but specialists showed a significantly steeper decrease with increasing fragment size than generalists. Immigration rates increased with area. As a result, species number of habitat specialists declined in small habitats but not in large habitats between 1996 and 2000. No significant impact of habitat isolation on the butterfly community was found. The data suggest that large habitat fragments are of special importance for the conservation of the specialized, most endangered butterfly species. Habitat isolation appears to be less important, as butterflies can cope with the habitat mosaic in our study region.

Keywords

Habitat fragmentationSpecies-area relationshipSpecialistsGeneralistsGrasslands

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jochen Krauss
    • 1
  • Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter
    • 1
  • Teja Tscharntke
    • 1
  1. 1.AgroecologyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany