The value of georeferenced collection records for predicting patterns of mosquito species richness and endemism in the Neotropics
bioclim, biogeography, collections, database, Distribution, mosquito, Neotropics, species endemism, Species richness, species–area relationship
Abstract 1. Determining large-scale distribution patterns for mosquitoes could advance knowledge of global mosquito biogeography and inform decisions about where mosquito inventory needs are greatest. 2. Over 43 000 georeferenced records are presented of identified and vouchered mosquitoes from collections undertaken between 1899 and 1982, from 1853 locations in 42 countries throughout the Neotropics. Of 492 species in the data set, 23% were only recorded from one location, and Anopheles albimanus Wiedemann is the most common species. 3. A linear log–log species–area relationship was found for mosquito species number and country area. Chile had the lowest relative density of species and Trinidad-Tobago the highest, followed by Panama and French Guiana. 4. The potential distribution of species was predicted using an Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) approach. Anopheles species had the largest predicted species ranges, whereas species of Deinocerites and Wyeomyia had the smallest. 5. Species richness was estimated for 1° grids and by summing predicted presence of species from ENM. These methods both showed areas of high species richness in French Guiana, Panama, Trinidad-Tobago, and Colombia. Potential hotspots in endemicity included unsampled areas in Panama, French Guiana, Colombia, Belize, Venezuela, and Brazil. 6. Argentina, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Bolivia, Cuba, and Peru were the most under-represented countries in the database compared with known country species occurrence data. Analysis of species accumulation curves suggested patchiness in the distribution of data points, which may affect estimates of species richness. 7. The data set is a first step towards the development of a global-scale repository of georeferenced mosquito collection records.