• Coleoptera;
  • Diptera;
  • Hymenoptera;
  • insect orders;
  • malaise tent;
  • pitfall;
  • savanna vegetation;
  • seasonality;
  • window Trop

Abstract In Brazil, a severe dry season lasting for approximately 5 months and frequent fires make life difficult for cerrado insects. In certain aspects, the cerrado can be considered to be an understudied ecosystem; even basic information such as knowledge about the annual peak in abundance of different insect orders is unknown. Insect abundance patterns have only been investigated for a few groups in the cerrado region. Thus, our study concerns the temporal distribution of insect abundance in the savanna-like vegetation of the central Brazilian cerrado (sensu stricto) in Distrito Federal. The region has a well-defined, long dry season between May and September. The insects were sampled by window, malaise tent and pitfall traps within 1 year. We used a multiple linear regression to analyse the relationship between abundance of insects of each order and climate variables. A total of 50 127 individuals from 15 orders was collected. The orders were Coleoptera (26%), Hymenoptera (23%), Diptera (20.5%), Isoptera (20%), Homoptera (4%), Lepidoptera (4%), Orthoptera (1.5%) and Hemiptera (1%). The abundance of Diptera, Homoptera, Lepidoptera and Orthoptera was randomly distributed over time, Isoptera peaked in the first half of the wet season, Coleoptera and Hemiptera in the second half of the wet season and Hymenoptera in each season. A significant correlation was found only between Coleoptera and delayed climatic variables. There were no obvious trends that might help explain the abundance patterns observed. The study provides baseline information about phenological patterns of insect abundance and permits evaluation of this group as a resource for various food chains and different trophic levels.