High diversity of diurnal Lepidoptera associated with landscape heterogeneity in semi-urban areas of Loja City, southern Ecuador

Claudia Nuñez-Penichet, Marlon E. Cobos, María F. Checa, Juan D. Quinde, Zhofre Aguirre, Nikolay Aguirre

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva


Urbanization rates are increasing worldwide; therefore, urban and semi-urban ecosystems are the focus of various studies that explore their importance for biodiversity conservation. In the order Lepidoptera high species diversity has been observed in areas with distinct levels of disturbance. In Ecuador, most efforts to study the diversity of butterflies have been concentrated in protected natural areas, whereas studies in semi-urban or urban areas are limited. In this study, we measured the diversity of diurnal Lepidoptera in two semi-urban areas, in southern Ecuador. We visited these areas during the dry season, in the hours of peak butterfly activity, and recorded the species and abundances of each. We estimated relative abundances, evenness, and beta diversity to characterize butterfly assemblages. We found high abundance and richness of Lepidoptera species and low similarities between the two semi-urban areas (Jaccard index = 0.21). Highest species richness was observed in the most heterogeneous area in terms of vegetation composition, owing to the type of management that it receives. Four species represented 50% of the total abundance observed in both sites, and various singletons were registered. This pattern of dominance is characteristic of disturbed areas, where generalist species adapt easily to anthropic environments. However, we also found relatively high richness and abundance of the members of the tribe Ithomiini, which are mostly present in primary forests. Our findings highlight the importance of semi-urban areas for conservation of butterfly diversity and the crucial role of proper management of anthropic areas to preserve biodiversity in this changing world.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)1155-1164
Número de páginas10
PublicaciónUrban Ecosystems
EstadoPublicada - dic. 2021

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© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.


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