Abstract

Hesperiidae is one of the most diverse families of butterflies in Costa Rica, with approximately 486 species. Even so, there are few butterfly lists where this group has been included. In this paper, we present information on seasonality, abundance and natural history features of this family for the Leonelo Oviedo Ecological Reserve (RELO), a 2 ha forest embedded in an urban matrix. Over the course of two years, a monthly sampling was carried out on a 270 m trail across the Reserve from 08:00 to 12:00, collecting all the individuals located within 5 m on each side of the trail. To better represent the richness, individuals were also randomly collected for more than ten years, but the butterflies collected in this way were not included in the statistical analysis. Photographs were taken of all the species in order to provide an identification guide. For the cryptic species, drawings and dissections of the genitalia were made. For the community indexes we used Microsoft Excel and the Shannon index with base two logarithm. For the summary of the monthly data analysis were done according to dry and wet season. For a comparison of richness and abundance we did a g-test to evaluate if there are differences between seasons; however, with the use of the R package vegan a hierarchical cluster analysis was done using the Jaccard index with Wards minimum variance agglomerative method. With R package pvclust the uncertainty of the clusters based on a bootstrap with 10 000 iterations. 423 individuals of 49 species were included in the statistical analysis, from a total of 435 individuals of 58 species. A tendency to greater richness and abundance of skippers was found during the dry season. Through the cluster analysis, it was possible to determine that in relation to the diversity of skippers, both wet seasons are grouped significantly (P = 0.05). The dry seasons are also grouped significantly (P = 0.05). The reserve has connectivity with other green areas via a stream. During the wet season, plant growth increases connectivity, which could lead to the entry of new individuals of different species that are not permanent residents of RELO and establish small populations, increasing the richness and abundance of species. This added to the variation in the occurrence of some species of butterflies in response to seasonal variations and differences in the availability of resources in different seasons explains the grouping of species between seasons.

Keywords: β-biodiversity; conservation; species richness; urban forest reserve; bio-indicators.