Previous studies deduced negative effects of urbanization on insect conservation from decline in species richness with increasing built-up areas. This is the first study that investigates insect extinction determined by urbanization using a long-time temporal data set from hidden literature data and museum collections. Analyses were conducted for four insect groups in urban Rome: butterflies, coprophagous scarabaeids, non-coprophagous scarabaeids and tenebrionids. A reconstruction of extinction trends from 1885 to 1999 indicates impressive declines in species richness, with differences according to the ecological characteristics of each insect group. Results obtained in this study suggest that insect conservation programs should involve a thorough assessment of which species of conservation concern benefit from green spaces in urban areas, and then the identification of important sites and appropriate measures for population management. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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