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J Anim Ecol. 2016 Jan;85(1):227-39. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12445. Epub 2015 Oct 16.

Taxonomic and functional composition of arthropod assemblages across contrasting Amazonian forests.

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Université Antilles-Guyane, UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, 97310, Kourou, French Guiana.
INRA, UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, 97310, Kourou, French Guiana.
Société Entomologique Antilles-Guyane, 97354, Rémire-Montjoly, French Guiana.
CIRAD, UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, 97310, Kourou, French Guiana.
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 1005 Valley Life Sciences Building #3140, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA.
International Center for Tropical Botany, Department of Biological Sciences, International Center for Tropical Botany, Florida International University, Miami, FL, 33199, USA.


Arthropods represent most of global biodiversity, with the highest diversity found in tropical rain forests. Nevertheless, we have a very incomplete understanding of how tropical arthropod communities are assembled. We conducted a comprehensive mass sampling of arthropod communities within three major habitat types of lowland Amazonian rain forest, including terra firme clay, white-sand and seasonally flooded forests in Peru and French Guiana. We examined how taxonomic and functional composition (at the family level) differed across these habitat types in the two regions. The overall arthropod community composition exhibited strong turnover among habitats and between regions. In particular, seasonally flooded forest habitats of both regions comprised unique assemblages. Overall, 17·7% (26 of 147) of arthropod families showed significant preferences for a particular habitat type. We present a first reproducible arthropod functional classification among the 147 taxa based on similarity among 21 functional traits describing feeding source, major mouthparts and microhabitats inhabited by each taxon. We identified seven distinct functional groups whose relative abundance contrasted strongly across the three habitats, with sap and leaf feeders showing higher abundances in terra firme clay forest. Our novel arthropod functional classification provides an important complement to link these contrasting patterns of composition to differences in forest functioning across geographical and environmental gradients. This study underlines that both environment and biogeographical processes are responsible for driving arthropod taxonomic composition while environmental filtering is the main driver of the variance in functional composition.


Amazon; French Guiana; Peru; arthropod community; environmental filtering; forest habitat; functional composition; mass sampling; trophic cascades

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