Reduced body sizes in climate-impacted tropical insect assemblages are primarily explained by range shifts

Chung-Huey Wu, Jeremy D. Holloway, Jane Katharine Hill, Chris Thomas, I-Ching Chen, Chuan-Kai Ho

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Both community composition changes due to species redistribution and within-species size shifts may alter body size structures under climate warming. Here we assess the relative contribution of these processes in community-level body size changes in tropical moth assemblages that moved uphill during a period of warming. Based on resurvey data for seven assemblages (>8000 individuals) on Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo in 1965 and 2007, we show significant wing-length reduction (mean shrinkage of 1.3% per species). Range shifts explain most size re-structuring, due to uphill shifts of relatively small species, especially at high elevations. Overall, mean forewing length shrank by ca. 5%, much of which accounted for by species range boundary shifts (3.9%), followed by within-boundary distribution changes (0.5%), and within-species size shrinkage (0.6%). We conclude that the effects of range shifting predominate, but considering species physiological responses is also important for understanding community size reorganization under climate warming.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4612 (2019)
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019

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