, Volume 18, Issue 13, pp 3629-3641
Date: 26 May 2009

Effect of characteristics of butterfly species on the accuracy of distribution models in an arid environment

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Species distribution models show great promise as tools for conservation ecology. However, their accuracy has been shown to vary widely among taxa. There is some evidence that this variation is partly owing to ecological differences among species, which make them more or less easy to model. Here we test the effect of five characteristics of Egyptian butterfly species on the accuracy of distribution models, the first such comparison for butterflies in an arid environment. Unlike most previous studies, we perform independent contrasts to control for species relatedness. We show that range size, both globally and locally, has a negative effect on model accuracy. The results shed light on causes of variation in distribution model accuracy among species, and hence have relevance to practitioners using species distribution models in conservation decision making.