2. Leaf Beetles of Peru: a systematic inventory
This project was initiated in 2008 in the Madre de Dios region, southern Peru. Kosnipata Valley biodiversity hotspot has some of the highest species diversities documented in the world. Simply, high plant diversity strongly suggests a high diversity of herbivorous insects. Thus, I began studying leaf beetles and their host plants. My main findings are 1) Chrysomelidae is the most diverse family in Peru with >1600 known species and many more to be described; 2) there is little overlap of species over the compressed thermal bands of the eastern Andean slopes (200 m – 4000 m); and 3) there is little overlap in leaf beetle faunas across different vegetation types— bamboo + bambusiform grasses, Zingiberales, palm, Polylepis, Alnus, and mixed tree forest.
Collaborators: Shawn Clark/Brigham Young University; R. Wills Flowers/Florida A & M University; Geoff Morse/San Diego University; Alexander Konstantinov and David Furth/U.S. National Museum; Vilma Savini/University of Maracay, Venezuela; Michael Schmitt, University of Greiswald, Germany
Please contact me for loans of specimens (any taxon) for your own research.
Funding: I am currently seeking NSF funding to continue this long-term transect study.