Adapting the Dragonfly Biotic Index to a katydid (Tettigoniidae) rapid assessment technique : case study of a biodiversity hotspot, the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa

Thompson, Aileen C. ; Bazelet, Corinna S. ; Naskrecki, Piotr ; Samways, Michael J. (2017)

CITATION: Thompson, A. C., et al. 2017. Adapting the Dragonfly Biotic Index to a katydid (Tettigoniidae) rapid assessment technique : case study of a biodiversity hotspot, the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. Journal of Orthoptera Research, 26(1):63-71, doi:10.3897/jor.26.14552.

The original publication is available at https://jor.pensoft.net

Article

Global biodiversity faces many challenges, with the conservation of invertebrates among these. South Africa is megadiverse and has three global biodiversity hotspots. The country also employs two invertebrate-based rapid assessment techniques to evaluate habitat quality of freshwater ecosystems. While grasshoppers (Acrididae) are known indicators of terrestrial habitats, katydids (Tettigoniidae) could be as well. Here, we adapt a South African freshwater invertebrate-based rapid assessment method, the Dragonfly Biotic Index (DBI), for the terrestrial katydid assemblage, and propose a new assessment approach using katydids: the Katydid Biotic Index (KBI). KBI assigns each katydid species a score based on a combination of: 1) IUCN Red List status, 2) geographic distribution, and 3) life history traits (which consist of mobility and trophic level). This means that the rarer, more localized, specialized and threatened katydid species receive the highest score, and the common, geographically widespread and Least Concern species the lowest. As a case study, we calculated KBI across one of South Africa’s global biodiversity hotspots, the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). We then correlated KBI/Site scores of individual ecosystems with their ecosystem threat scores. The CFR’s katydid assemblage did not differ significantly from that of the overall South African katydid assemblage in terms of its species traits, threat statuses, or distribution among tettigoniid subfamilies. Likewise, KBI/Site scores did not differ significantly among ecosystem threat statuses. This may be explained by the coarse spatial scale of this study or by the lack of specialization of the CFR katydid assemblage. Nevertheless, the KBI holds promise as it is a relatively simple and non-invasive technique for taking invertebrate species composition into account in an assessment of habitat quality. In regions where katydid assemblages are well-known, acoustic surveys and KBI may provide an efficient means for assessing habitats.

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