Body size and abundance relationship

an index of diversity for herbivores

Boniface O. Oindo*, Andrew K. Skidmore, Herbert H. T. Prins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


It is evident to any biologist that small-bodied species within a given higher taxon (order, class, phylum, etc.) tend to be represented by more individuals. Hence small-bodied species are generally more abundant than large-bodied species. We analyzed large herbivore species data collected in Kenyan rangelands. An index of biological diversity derived from the negative relation between animal species body size and its local abundance is proposed. We compared the new index with species abundances at landscape scale (10 × 10 km) in individual districts, as well as in the combined regional data. The results show a consistently strong positive relation between the new diversity index and species abundances. The proposed diversity index has the advantage of incorporating information on species abundances without the need for time-consuming surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1923-1931
Number of pages9
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • animal abundance
  • biodiversity indices
  • body size
  • large herbivores
  • species diversity

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