Environmental variation and seasonal changes as determinants of the spatial distribution of scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) in Neotropical forests

Canadian Journal of Zoology, e-First Articles. Habitat selection and seasonal changes are key drivers of the population dynamics of many species. We analyzed how the environmental structure influences species establishment in an area by comparing microhabitat preference and functional richness of scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) in wet (Atlantic forest) and semiarid (Caatinga) areas. Variations in superficial foraging activity and microhabitat colonization during dry and rainy seasons were evaluated as an indication of the climatic impact on population dynamics. We collected 12 scorpion species using ultraviolet light lamps. We found that differential patterns in spatial distribution were independent of forest type, and we provide evidence for partial niche partitioning among scorpion species based on age class and climatic conditions. Foraging activity was also seasonally influenced. Functional richness was higher in wet forests than in dry forests, whereas taxonomical richness exhibited an opposite pattern. We conclude that spatiotemporal resource partitioning and refuge sharing are important drivers of the population dynamics and spatial distribution of scorpion species in Neotropical forests.
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology - Category: Zoology Authors: Source Type: research

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