, Volume 12, Issue 3-4, pp 251-263
Date: 19 Apr 2007

A multidimensional characterization of rarity applied to the Aegean tenebrionid beetles (Coleoptera Tenebrionidae)

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Abstract

This paper attempts to use museum collection data to estimate measures of species rarity and then to relate these measures to extinction risk. For this purpose, 170 taxa (138 species and 32 subspecies) of tenebrionid beetles from 32 Aegean Islands (Greece) were considered. For each taxon, rarity was evaluated as geographic distribution (mean incidence on islands in the archipelago), potential habitat exploitation (total area of the islands occupied on the total area of the study system) and contactability (number of decades of taxon’s records on the total number of decades of assumed persistence from 1870 to 2000). All of these indices were correlated to each other. Whether expressed in terms of range size or habitat exploitation rarity was a major determinant of a species’ risk of extinction (evaluated as extinction decade). Thus, the designation of rarity provides a good basis for identifying species that are most in need of conservation at a particular scale.