Altitudinal terrestrial isopod diversity
Anastasiou, Ioannis P.
SourceEuropean Journal of Soil Biology
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We have assessed the diversity of terrestrial isopods across an elevational and habitat gradient on Mt. Panachaiko (NW Peloponnisos, Greece). Previous knowledge on the biodiversity of this mountain was restricted to very few records of individual species, and no systematic sampling had ever been applied for any animal taxon. We selected the most representative habitat types within an altitudinal range from 750 to 1700 m a.s.l., where we applied qualitative and quantitative monthly sampling using hand collecting and pitfall traps for 6 months during the snow-free period (June-November). We sampled three sites with maquis vegetation, one site with fir forest, one with sparse hawthorn vegetation and two at a highland meadow, and we compared the distribution and abundance patterns of isopod species among these habitat types. Overall, 13 isopod species were found, seven of which were also captured in pitfall traps. One species, Armadillidium lobocurvum, was extremely abundant at the most elevated sites, resulting in very uneven patterns of abundance. The habitat types with higher diversity of isopod species were the sparse hawthorns and the open maquis, and the richest month was July. We also discuss the phenology of the most abundant species at the highland meadows. © 2005 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.