More winners than losers over 12 years of monitoring tiger moths (Erebidae: Arctiinae) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama

Understanding the causes and consequences of insect declines has become an important goal in ecology, particularly in the tropics, where most terrestrial diversity exists. Over the past 12 years, the ForestGEO Arthropod Initiative has systematically monitored multiple insect groups on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama, providing baseline data for assessing long-term population trends. Here, we estimate the rates of change in abundance among 96 tiger moth species on BCI. Population trends of most species were stable (n = 20) or increasing (n = 62), with few (n = 14) declining species. Our analysis of morphological and climatic sensitivity traits associated with population trends shows that species-specific responses to climate were most strongly linked with trends. Specifically, tiger moth species that are more abundant in warmer and wetter years are more likely to show population increases. Our study contrasts with recent findings indicating insect decline in tropical and temperate regions. These results highlight the significant role of biotic responses to climate in determining long-term population trends and suggest that future climate changes are likely to impact tropical insect communities.

Greg P. A. Lamarre, Nicholas A. Pardikes, Simon Segar, Charles N. Hackforth, Michel Laguerre, Benoît Vincent, Yacksecari Lopez, Filonila Perez, Ricardo Bobadilla, José Alejandro Ramírez Silva, & Yves Basset
Biology Letters