Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Habitat structure influences the diversity of diurnal butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea) in high-montane ecosystems in Colombia

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Clavijo-Giraldo, A. ., Álvarez-Hincapié, C. F. ., & Colorado Z., G. J. (2024). Habitat structure influences the diversity of diurnal butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea) in high-montane ecosystems in Colombia. Revista De Biología Tropical, 72(1).


Introduction: Recent ecological studies have found a positive correlation between habitat structure and animal communities that inhabit them. Generally, such studies try to test the hypotheses that animal species diversity increases in complex and heterogeneous habitats since they may provide more potential niches that structurally simpler habitats. Objective: In this research, the effect of habitat complexity and heterogeneity, and structural habitat characteristics on the butterfly community (Papilionoidea) inhabiting three vegetation covers (shrubs, highland forest and paramo) was evaluated in high-montane ecosystems of the Central Cordillera, Antioquia department, Colombia. Methods: From January to July 2012, butterflies were systematically sampled using Van Someren Rydon traps. Simultaneously, complexity, heterogeneity, and vegetation structure were quantified using 0.04 ha circular plots established around the traps. Results: We reported 108 species, 48 genus and five families of butterflies. Butterfly richness and abundance were sensible to both complexity and heterogeneity of the vegetation covers, as well as to changes in the vegetation structure, showing strong correlations with habitat characteristics. Butterfly diversity was highest in the shrub habitat (1D = 25.02; 2D = 11.97), followed by the highland forest (1D = 15.83; 2D = 9.42) and paramo (1D = 12.36; 2D = 7.86). Moreover, richness and abundance of butterfly species were positively associated with the increase in canopy cover and vegetation density in horizontal and vertical strata. Conclusion: These findings underline the importance of preserving the heterogeneity of habitats and vegetation structure in the Andean high-montane ecosystems to maintain the diversity and abundance of butterflies, highlighting the need for conservation and management policies that consider the complexity and diversity of these ecosystems.


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