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Title Variation of Lepidoptera biodiversity along an aridity gradient in central Namibia

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Short title Lepidoptera biodiversity

Author(s) Mey, W.

Presenting author Mey, W.

Institution(s) Museum für Naturkunde, Humboldt-Universität, Invalidenstr. 43, D – 10115 Berlin, Germany;

Keywords Insecta, Lepidoptera, biodiversity, BIOTA observatories, Namibia

Abstract One of the ecological and biogeographical peculiarities of Namibia is the distribution pattern of the autochthonous biomes. Their definitions and ranges are determined largely by the amount of annual precipitation that declines gradually from east to west. Due to the south-north orientation of the cold Benguela current off the Namibian coast and its influence on the climate of the adjacent continental areas the biomes follow the longitudinal orientation and form broad stripes running parallel to the coastline. Thus, along a latitudinal east-west route all biomes are traversed within short distance. A transect line with six Biota-observatories along this gradient were established in 2004 in Central Namibia. This setting proved to be well suited to study Lepidoptera biodiversity and its gradual change in relatively close vicinity. During two collecting campaigns the anticipated variation of the total fauna (increasing ?- and ?-diversity towards the east) was found and documented in detail. However, some families depart from this general line and show maximal diversity in intermediate observatories. The faunal composition was analysed separately for Microlepidoptera, Macrolepidoptera and Pyraloidea. Based on samples in six observatories the expected absolute number of species was estimated by using extrapolation algorithms.

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Ref. No. 644