Impact of climate change on the elevational and latitudinal distributions of populations of Tipulidae (Diptera) in Wales, United Kingdom

Jack J. Devlin, Robert J. Thomas, Sarah E. Long, Pete Boardman, Julian R. Dupuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As dominant features of most ecosystems, insects are responsive to changes in climate, both over short temporal scales (e.g. seasonal fluctuations in abundance) and over longer evolutionary scales (e.g. decade-scale changes in patterns of biodiversity). One such taxonomic group that is sensitive to changing climate are the craneflies (Diptera: Tipulidae). Here, we used aggregated biodiversity data to examine elevational and latitudinal distributions of adult Tipulidae between 1976 and 2019 in Wales, UK, and we related these distributions to climatic patterns. Our analyses showed that species with earlier-emerging adults were most affected by weather conditions in the year before observation. Specifically, as temperature increased, observed elevation increased in high-precipitation conditions, remained stable in average-precipitation conditions and decreased in low-precipitation conditions. For species with later-emerging adults, associations were seen between elevation and weather conditions in the year of observation. Observed latitude generally exhibited a negative association with maximum temperature in the year before observation, with observations of Tipulidae trending southwards during the 43-year study period. Our results support consideration of emergence phenology, weather and habitat data when predicting species distributional changes attributable to climate change, which is vital in understanding the selection pressures that species face in a changing environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-46
Number of pages17
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s).


  • anthropogenic habitat modification
  • biodiversity data
  • desiccation
  • insects
  • species responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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