Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1203–1213 | Cite as

Landscape and local variables benefit rare species and common ones differently

  • Zoltán László
  • László Rákosy
  • Béla Tóthmérész


Our ecological knowledge is mainly based on studies about frequent and abundant species, while the vast majority of species are rare; moreover, rare species play crucial role in the evolutionary adaptation of communities to changing land use. Therefore, spatial scale-dependent studies on rare species from the same community may contribute to understanding rare species’ responses. At the same time, by taking into account the effect of landscape structure as well, results of such studies may ease the implementation of conservation management plans or environmental planning. In our research we aimed to assess and quantify the effects of local and landscape-level environmental variables on abundance, incidence and parasitism rates for rare parasitoids belonging to the same community. For this reason, we examined the parasitoid community exploiting the gall-inducing Diplolepis rosae to learn about rare species’ responses to environmental variables at different scales. We have found that local effects on rare species composition diminished while landscape effects increased compared to effects on common species from the same community. Similarly, specific responses of rare species revealed a higher impact of landscape-scale processes than in the case of common species. Although in the case of rare species it is difficult to recognize the effects of environmental changes across spatial scales due to their rarity, we have concluded that the latter are more sensitive to landscape-level changes than common species. Our study underlines the varying importance of environmental changes across spatial scales in the case of both rare and common species; hence rarity and commonness contribute significantly to drawing reliable conclusions about community and interaction patterns.


Commonness Dispersal Landscape heterogeneity Local effects Parasitoid Rarity 



Authors are grateful for B. H. Nagy, T. Varga and L. Kereki for their help during field and laboratory work. This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian Ministry of Education, CNCS–UEFISCDI, Project Number PN-II-RU-PD-2012-3-0065/2012 and by the TÁMOP 4.2.1./B-09/1/KONV-2010-0007 project.

Supplementary material

10841_2014_9734_MOESM1_ESM.doc (228 kb)
Details of biological characteristics of rare community members, details of the canonical correspondence analysis and backward stepwise model selection (DOC 228 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoltán László
    • 1
  • László Rákosy
    • 2
  • Béla Tóthmérész
    • 3
  1. 1.Hungarian Department of Biology and EcologyBabeş-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Department of Taxonomy and EcologyBabeş-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania
  3. 3.MTA-DE Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Research GroupDebrecenHungary

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