Biological Invasions

, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp 3137–3148 | Cite as

Contextualized niche shifts upon independent invasions by the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus

  • Daniel P. Silva
  • Bruno Vilela
  • Bruno A. Buzatto
  • Armin P. Moczek
  • Joaquín Hortal
Original Paper


The historical contingencies of biological invasions may have important consequences for final invasion outcomes. Here, we characterize the variations in the realized niche during the invasions of the bull-headed dung beetle Onthophagus taurus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) from its native Mediterranean range following accidental (Eastern North America) as well as deliberate (Western North America, Western Australia, and Eastern Australia) releases into novel, exotic ranges approximately 50 years ago. Specifically, we examined whether the climatic responses of exotic O. taurus have diverged from those characterizing their native range, and if so, to what degree and in what dimensions. We found that when compared to the native range, all exotic populations exhibited similar overlap proportions regardless of invasion history. However, more detailed analysis of climatic niche features showed that all three deliberately established populations were characterized by overall similar climatic niche features, whereas the accidentally-established Eastern North American populations have undergone significant changes in their climatic niche. Specifically, when analog climates were considered on the background of each pairwise range comparison, accidentally-established Eastern North American populations showed a different climatic niche expansion than their deliberately introduced Australian or Western North American counterparts, in particular towards colder and more humid climates. We discuss our results in the context of the widely divergent introduction histories of O. taurus in Australia and North America, and highlight the possible roles of contrasting propagule sizes, disparate genetic profiles and variances, adaptive processes and invadable landscapes in shaping invasion outcomes in the different exotic ranges.


Niche conservatism Niche shift Invasive species Realized climatic niche Multivariate niche analyses Dung beetles Scarabaeidae 



We thank two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and constructive comments which significantly improved the manuscript, and Kevin Floate, James Ridsdill-Smith, and Jorge M. Lobo for providing us with with occurrence data for O. taurus in its North American, Australian, and native ranges, respectively. D.P.S received a doctorate fellowship from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES). BV received a doctorate fellowship from CAPES. BAB was funded by a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE150101521) from the Australian Research Council. JH was funded by a Spanish DGCyT Ramón y Cajal grant, the CSIC/CNPq Co-operation project 2011BR0071, and the Brazilian CNPq PVE grant 401471/2014-4. Lastly, APM acknowledges support through US National Science Foundation grants IOS 1120209 and 1256689.

Supplementary material

10530_2016_1204_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1493 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel P. Silva
    • 1
  • Bruno Vilela
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bruno A. Buzatto
    • 4
  • Armin P. Moczek
    • 5
  • Joaquín Hortal
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciências BiológicasInstituto Federal GoianoUrutaíBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Evolução, Departamento de Ecologia, ICBUniversidade Federal de GoiásGoiâniaBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciencias de la VidaUniversidad de AlcaláMadridSpain
  4. 4.Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Animal Biology (M092)The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  5. 5.Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  6. 6.Departamento de Biogeografía y Cambio GlobalMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN-CSIC)MadridSpain
  7. 7.Departamento de Ecologia, ICBUniversidade Federal de GoiásGoiâniaBrazil

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