25 February, 2020

The potential impact of climate change on the future distribution of scorpion species in two different ecosystems in Brazil

Climate changes and subsequent habitat changes or destruction is high on the agenda these days. But how will climate change impact on scorpions? Andre Lira and co-workers published a study in December trying to answer this question.

And not surprisingly their study showed that all 10 species in the study presented a drastic reduction in potential distribution du to expected climate changes, ranging from 44% to 72%, when compared with their current distribution. Interestingly, this applied both to generalist and specialist species. It was expected that latter was more vulnerable to changes than the former.

Current predictions about the responses of species to climate change strongly rely on projecting altered environmental conditions on their distributions. In this study, we investigated the effects of future climate change scenarios on the potential distribution of 10 species of scorpions in north-eastern Brazil in the context of their degree of specialisation to closed (Atlantic and Amazon Forests) and open (Caatinga and Cerrado) habitats. Scorpion species were classified as habitat specialists or generalists according to the IndVal index, and present and future species distribution models were prepared using minimum volume ellipsoids. According to IndVal, four species were classified as closed-forest specialists (Ananteris mauryi, Tityus brazilae, Tityus pusillus and Tityus neglectus), four as open-forest specialists (Jaguajir agamemnon, Jaguajir rochae, Physoctonus debilis and Bothriurus rochai), and two as generalists (Tityus stigmurus and Bothriurus asper). All species presented a drastic reduction in potential distribution, ranging from 44% to 72%, when compared with their current distribution. In addition, we found a reduction in scorpion species richness under future climate change scenarios. This finding has implications for scorpion conservation. Further, the results show that climate change may impact the composition of scorpion assemblages in north-eastern Brazil, revealing important implications for human–scorpion interactions.

Lira AFDA, Badillo-Montaño R, Lira-Noriega A, de Albuquerque CMR. Potential distribution patterns of scorpions in north-eastern Brazil under scenarios of future climate change. Austral Ecol. 2019. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me their article!

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