• abundance;
  • geographical range;
  • macroecology;
  • spatial structure


  • 1
    The local population density structure of a phytophagous insect, the holly leaf-miner Phytomyza ilicis Curtis, was examined across its natural geographical range in Europe.
  • 2
    The frequency distribution of the number of sample sites at which the leaf-miner attained different densities per tree was strongly right-skewed, with the species being absent from a large number of sites at which its host occurred, particularly in southern regions.
  • 3
    There was a decline in the spatial autocorrelation of leaf-miner densities with increasing distance between sample sites, with negative autocorrelation at long lags resulting in part from high densities being attained at the north-eastern range limits and low densities at the southern range limits.
  • 4
    Partial regression analysis was used to model leaf-miner densities in terms of spatial position within the geographical range and the broad climate experienced at the sample localities. This accounted for between 40 and 65% of the variation in densities, dependent upon how the leaf-miner’s geographical range was defined.
  • 5
    While overall these results are at odds with common and intuitively appealing assertions about the abundance structure of geographical ranges, they can readily be interpreted in terms of a simple modification of a general model of such structures.