Aim: Ecogeographical patterns have been widely studied in endothermic vertebrates, but relatively few studies have simultaneously examined patterns and causes of gradients in species richness, range size and body size in ectothermic insects. We examined patterns in species richness, mean range size and mean body size of ground beetle assemblages across the biogeographical provinces of Northern Europe, a region that was mostly covered by ice sheets during the latest Ice Age and that presents strong contemporary climatic gradients. Location: Northern Europe. Methods: We used literature information on the occurrence of ground beetles, and analysed patterns in species richness, mean range size and mean body size across the provinces using generalized linear models and boosted regression tree (BRT) analysis. Results: We found a strongly decreasing gradient in species richness with increasing latitude, a strongly unimodal range size-latitude relationship, and a weak unimodal body size-latitude relationship in entire ground beetle assemblages. These gradients also varied among four major genera, suggesting that the overall patterns result from the nuances of smaller clades of ground beetles. The relative importance of contemporary environmental drivers also varied between species richness, mean range size and mean body size in BRT analysis. While species richness increased with mean annual temperature, mean range size showed an opposite relationship. Mean body size was most clearly associated with the precipitation of the driest month. Main Conclusions: Our findings showed that the latitudinal species richness gradient was strong, and it was closely related to concomitant variation in temperature, whereas variations in mean range size and mean body size were more complex. These findings suggest that the causes for range size and body size variation in insects may be complex, requiring additional insights from studies conducted at local, regional and continental scales.
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