Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 889–895 | Cite as

Habitat richness and tree species richness of roundabouts: effects on site selection and the prevalence of arboreal caterpillars

  • Cecily Goodwin
  • Bruce Keep
  • Simon R. Leather


This study examined the relationship between the habitat and tree species richness of roundabouts and the abundance and species richness of tree-dwelling caterpillars, and thus the potential of urban roundabouts to support breeding populations. Total tree species number on sites was related to an increase in caterpillar abundance and a greater number of habitats was associated with a higher number of caterpillar species. An increase in the total number of trees was not correlated with a greater abundance of tree-feeding Lepidoptera; nor were native trees found to support proportionally more caterpillar species than all tree species, including introduced. This could be due to differences in species accumulation, the prevalence of generalist species or a statistical sampling effect. The occupancy and average abundance of caterpillar species was generally low, which does not support the theory that Lepidoptera in urban areas tend towards mono-dominance. It may, however, represent the presence of ‘accidental’ species on roundabouts. Habitat management and planting to increase tree species diversity and density on roundabouts has the potential to increase the species diversity and abundance of arboreal Lepidoptera, and increase abundance of butterfly and moth urban populations.


Lepidoptera Roundabouts Habitat diversity Arboreal caterpillars Management Tree density 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecily Goodwin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bruce Keep
    • 1
  • Simon R. Leather
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesImperial College LondonAscotUK
  2. 2.Environment & Sustainability UnityUniversity of ExeterPenryn, CornwallUK
  3. 3.Crop & Environment SciencesHarper Adams UniversityNewportUK

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