Influence of urban landscape on ants and spiders richness and composition in forests

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As large amounts of natural environments are lost due to urbanization, the role of remnant native vegetation in the preservation of biodiversity has become even more significant. Remnant native forest patches are essential refugia for flora and fauna and are crucial for the maintenance of ecosystem processes in urbanized landscapes. We evaluated the influence of landscape structure on ants and spiders associated with Atlantic Forest remnants in urban landscapes. We sampled 14 forest areas in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador and tested the effect of the landscapes’ proportion of forest cover, mean landscape isolation, and mean landscape shape complexity on the taxonomic and functional richness and the community composition of both groups. The species collected were classified into functional groups based on behavioral attributes and environmental preferences. Overall, there were strong adverse effects of forest loss, decreased connectivity, and an increase in edge effects associated with the mean shape complexity of the forest remnants. However, the spiders responded to all three landscape structure characteristics whereas the ants only responded to the landscape mean shape complexity. Our findings indicate that the maintenance of urban forest habitats is essential for the conservation of biodiversity in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador and the preservation of ecological functions performed by species within the forest areas.
Melo T.S., Moreira E.F., Andrade A.R.S., Delabie J.H.C., Lopes M.V.A., Peres M.C.L., et al. Influence of urban landscape on ants and spiders richness and composition in forests. Neotrop. Entomol.. 2021 Jan;50:32-45. doi:10.1007/s13744-020-00824-4.
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