We analysed the variation of species richness in the European freshwater fauna
across latitude. In particular, we compared latitudinal patterns in species richness
-diversity among species adapted to different habitat types.
We compiled data on occurrence for 14,020 animal species across 25
pre-defined biogeographical regions of European freshwaters from the
. Furthermore, we extracted information on the habitat preferences of
species. We assigned species to three habitat types: species adapted to groundwater,
lotic (running water) and lentic (standing water) habitats. We analysed latitudinal
patterns of species richness, the proportion of lentic species and
Only lentic species showed a significant speciesľarea relationship. We
found a monotonic decline of species richness with latitude for groundwater and
lotic habitats, but a hump-shaped relationship for lentic habitats. The proportion of
lentic species increased from southern to northern latitudes.
from groundwater to lentic habitats and from southern to northern latitudes.
The differences in the latitudinal variation of species richness
among species adapted to different habitat types are in part due to differences in the
propensity for dispersal. Since lentic habitats are less persistent than lotic or groundwater
habitats, lentic species evolved more efficient strategies for dispersal. The
dispersal propensity of lentic species facilitated the recolonization of central Europe
after the last glaciation. Overall, we stress the importance of considering the history
of regions and lineages as well as the ecological traits of species for understanding
patterns of biodiversity.|