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Testing the efficacy of global biodiversity hotspots for insect conservation : the case of South African katydids

Bazelet, Corinna S. ; Thompson, Aileen C. ; Naskrecki, Piotr (2016)

CITATION: Bazelet, C. S., Thompson, A. C. & Naskrecki, P. 2016. Testing the efficacy of global biodiversity hotspots for insect conservation : the case of South African katydids. PLoS ONE, 11(9):1-17, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0160630.

The original publication is available at

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


The use of endemism and vascular plants only for biodiversity hotspot delineation has long been contested. Few studies have focused on the efficacy of global biodiversity hotspots for the conservation of insects, an important, abundant, and often ignored component of biodiversity. We aimed to test five alternative diversity measures for hotspot delineation and examine the efficacy of biodiversity hotspots for conserving a non-typical target organism, South African katydids. Using a 1° fishnet grid, we delineated katydid hotspots in two ways: (1) count-based: grid cells in the top 10% of total, endemic, threatened and/or sensitive species richness; vs. (2) score-based: grid cells with a mean value in the top 10% on a scoring system which scored each species on the basis of its IUCN Red List threat status, distribution, mobility and trophic level. We then compared katydid hotspots with each other and with recognized biodiversity hotspots. Grid cells within biodiversity hotspots had significantly higher count-based and score-based diversity than non-hotspot grid cells. There was a significant association between the three types of hotspots. Of the count-based measures, endemic species richness was the best surrogate for the others. However, the score-based measure out-performed all count-based diversity measures. Species richness was the least successful surrogate of all. The strong performance of the score-based method for hotspot prediction emphasizes the importance of including species’ natural history information for conservation decision-making, and is easily adaptable to other organisms. Furthermore, these results add empirical support for the efficacy of biodiversity hotspots in conserving non-target organisms.

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