Project

Butterfly Monitoring in Tropical Regions

Goal: This project focuses on presenting monitoring techniques, data analysis and monitoring initiatives for butterflies in the tropical region.

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Onildo J Marini-Filho
added 2 research items
Protected areas (PAs) are a widely recognized tool for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. However, megadiverse countries struggle to manage, maintain, and expand PAs as they face mounting human pressures. The Brazilian Cerrado biome (a biodiversity hotspot) is experiencing increasing land-use changes paired with a loss of natural vegetation, and only 3.2% of its land area is under strict protections. The Brazilian Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) was created in 1997 to monitor long-term changes in protected and non-protected areas in Brazilian biomes. The Environmental Protected Area of the Gama and Cabeça de Veado (AGCV) watersheds in Central Brazil's core distribution of the Cerrado (Brasília, Federal District), was one of the first sites to participate in the Brazilian LTER. The main goal of the AGCV-LTER site is to monitor long-term changes and ecological processes in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in PAs that are surrounded by landscapes facing extreme ecosystem shifts. Over 22 years, we investigated the effects of drivers such as fire, noise and light pollution, eutrophication, and biological invasions on aquatic (invertebrates and water quality) and terrestrial ecosystems (vegetation, vertebrates, and invertebrates). The results indicate that even within a PA, changes in the surrounding landscape affects biodiversity and ecosystem functions, revealing the essential nature of continuous monitoring for biodiversity conservation.
O relatório do componente Florestal, subprograma Terrestre do Programa Nacional de Monitoramento da Biodiversidade – Programa Monitora, apresenta os resultados para o período de 2014 a 2018 do monitoramento do protocolo básico dos quatro alvos globais: aves, mamíferos, plantas e borboletas, assim como os resultados do protocolo avançado para mamíferos e aves.
Márcio Zikán Cardoso
added a research item
• The composition of communities of fruit‐feeding butterflies in the Brazilian Atlantic forest changes in response to landscape fragmentation and can be used as an indicator of habitat quality. Landscape fragmentation, aridity, and early signs of global warming at the northernmost distribution of this biome may impose extra challenges for species persistence. • We aim to clarify the drivers of fruit‐feeding butterflies' metacommunity structure in the northernmost portion of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. We propose to disentangle consequences of habitat loss from fragmentation per se by using both habitat amount and patch scale metrics. • We sampled fruit‐feeding butterflies in 15 forest fragments of up to ~30 ha during 1 year. We used fragment size, shape, distance to nearest perennial stream, Euclidean distance to nearest neighbour, forest habitat amount, proximity index, and the percentage of sugarcane within a buffer to elucidate patterns of species richness, abundance, and beta diversity. • A configuration metric, stream distance, was the only variable predicting metacommunity total abundance and richness: fragments farther from water had fewer species and individuals. However, forest habitat amount and sugar cane were important to rarefied richness and species replacement between fragments. • Our findings suggest that streams and associated riparian zones provide source populations for the butterfly metacommunities in this landscape, which fits the mass effect model. We also emphasise that small forest patches have high conservation value for persistence of butterfly populations, because each fragment preserves a substantial portion of the total species pool.
Márcio Zikán Cardoso
added a research item
While butterfly responses to climate change are well studied, detailed analyses of the seasonal dynamics of range expansion are few. Therefore, the seasonal range expansion of the butterfly Heliconius charithonia L. (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) was analyzed using a database of sightings and collection records dating from 1884 to 1992 from Texas. First and last sightings for each year were noted, and residency time calculated, for each collection locality. To test whether sighting dates were a consequence of distance from source (defined as the southernmost location of permanent residence), the distance between source and other locations was calculated. Additionally, consistent directional change over time of arrival dates was tested in a well-sampled area (San Antonio). Also, correlations between temperature, rainfall, and butterfly distribution were tested to determine whether butterfly sightings were influenced by climate. Both arrival date and residency interval were influenced by distance from source: butterflies arrived later and residency time was shorter at more distant locations. Butterfly occurrence was correlated with temperature but not rainfall. Residency time was also correlated with temperature but not rainfall. Since temperature follows a north-south gradient this may explain the inverse relationship between residency and distance from entry point. No long-term directional change in arrival dates was found in San Antonio. The biological meaning of these findings is discussed suggesting that naturalist notes can be a useful tool in reconstructing spatial dynamics.
Phon Chooi-Khim
added a research item
The Rajah Brooke's Birdwing, Trogonoptera brookiana, is a large, iconic butterfly that is facing heavy commercial exploitation and habitat loss. Males of some subspecies exhibit puddling behavior. A method of conservation monitoring was developed for subspecies albescens in Ulu Geroh, Peninsular Malaysia, where the males consistently puddle in single-species aggregations at stable geothermal springs, reaching well over 300 individuals when the population is at its highest. Digital photography was used to conduct counts of numbers of males puddling. The numbers of birdwings puddling were significantly correlated with counts of birdwings in flight, but were much higher. The numbers puddling during the peak hour were correlated with numbers puddling throughout the day and could be predicted using the numbers puddling at an alternative hour, enabling flexibility in the time of counts. Average counts for three images taken at each puddle at three peak hours between 1400–1600 hours over 2–3 days were used as a monthly population index. The numbers puddling were positively associated with higher relative humidity and brightness during monitoring hours. Monthly counts of birdwings from monitoring of puddles over a period of two years are presented. The minimum effort required for a monitoring program using counts of puddling males is discussed, as well as the potential of using the method to monitor other species of puddling butterflies.
Phon Chooi-Khim
added a research item
General linear model for counts of puddling birdwing in response to all variables (full model). (DOCX)
Márcio Zikán Cardoso
added a research item
Large areas in tropical countries were converted into Eucalyptus plantations for pulp production. Although these plantations are structurally more similar to native ecosystems than traditional short-lived crops, they can be less suitable for more sensitive species. Thus, it is important to know how they can harbor native biodiversity and contribute for its conservation in highly fragmented landscapes. In this work, we compared fruit-feeding butterfly assemblages from Eucalyptus plantations, forest fragments immersed in Eucalyptus plantations and samples inside a continuous forest tract on an extremely rich and threatened area of Atlantic forest in Brazil. We found that plantations harbor a less diverse assemblage of fruit-feeding butterflies, with low richness and a few, very abundant species. Samples placed in plantations were more similar to each other in species composition than those taken from fragments or continuous forests, although the dissimilarities among forest fragments are similar to those found among continuous forest samples. The occurrence of some very abundant species, mostly grass-feeding (Satyrines), differentiate the plantations from forests plots. In common between plantations and forests there were a few other species, notably some associated with second growth (Biblidinae and Satyrinae) and others with strong flying capabilities (Charaxinae). The small fragments harbored a significant portion of the regional butterfly diversity, and this reinforces the importance of actions to preserve them and to increase landscape connectivity for butterfly conservation purposes. It is clear that Eucalyptus sp. plantations cannot substitute forests for a vast majority of fruit-feeding butterflies, but it is better than other land use practices, such as pastures and sugar cane plantations, in sustaining part of this fauna and acting as a potential corridor.
Jessie Pereira Dos Santos
added 2 research items
Butterflies are one of the best-known insect groups, and they have been the subject of numerous studies in ecology and evolution, especially in the tropics. Much attention has been given to the fruit-feeding butterfly guild in biodiversity conservation studies, due to the relative ease with which taxa may be identified and specimens sampled using bait traps. However, there remain many uncertainties about the macroecological and biogeographical patterns of butterflies in tropical ecosystems. In the present study, we gathered information about fruit-feeding butterfly species in local communities from the Atlantic Forests of South America. The ATLANTIC BUTTERFLIES data set, which is part of ATLANTIC SERIES data papers, results from a compilation of 145 unpublished inventories and 64 other references, including articles, theses, and book chapters published from 1949 to 2018. In total, the data set contains 7,062 records (presence) of 279 species of fruit-feeding butterflies identified with taxonomic certainty, from 122 study locations. The Satyrini is the tribe with highest number of species (45%) and records (30%), followed by Brassolini, with 13% of species and 12.5% of records. The 10 most common species correspond to 14.2% of all records. This data set represents a major effort to compile inventories of fruit-feeding butterfly communities, filling a knowledge gap about the diversity and distribution of these butterflies in the Atlantic Forest. We hope that the present data set can provide guidelines for future studies and planning of new inventories of fruit-feeding butterflies in this biome. The information presented here also has potential use in studies across a great variety of spatial scales, from local and landscape levels to macroecological research and biogeographical research. We expect that such studies be very important for the better implementation of conservation initiatives, and for understanding the multiple ecological processes that involve fruit-feeding butterflies as biological indicators. No copyright restrictions apply to the use of this data set. Please cite this Data paper when using the current data in publications or teaching events.
Some nymphalid butterflies obtain their nutrients from fermented fruits or plant saps. They compose a guild known as "fruit-feeding butterflies," a recognized biological indicator. We gathered a huge data set of fruit-feeding butterfly communities in a recent paper for Ecology. The data set contains 7,062 records of 279 species from 122 locations, a major effort to fill the knowledge gap about the diversity and distribution of these butterflies in the Atlantic Forest biome. We expect its content to support the better implementation of conservation initiatives and studies across a great variety of spatial scales, with focus on the understanding of multiple ecological processes.
Márcio Zikán Cardoso
added 2 research items
By noting the spatial location of captured individuals mark-recapture studies create a collection of discrete events spread in space and time. This setup is appropriate for network modeling where the vertices (or nodes) are the points of capture and links are established whenever a recapture occurs. Applying network analytical tools, it is possible to ascertain aspects of spatial structure and generate predictions regarding the likely causes of structure in the network. We studied the spatial network of two tropical butterfly species, Heliconius erato and H. melpomene, using a mark-recapture database from a 2-year survey in an Atlantic Forest remnant in Brazil. The overall network structure of both species was similar in number of vertices and average connectivity. Heliconius erato had a smaller, more disconnected network structure, suggesting shorter traveling paths. The distribution of connectivity of both species was better adjusted by a power-law distribution. We found hubs in both species; hubs are points of high capture and their location is correlated with the location of flowering plants visited by adults. In complex systems, hub elimination can have a notable collapsing effect in network structure. Because resource hubs are important for butterfly network organization we suggest management as well as experimental tests with regards to the role of resource hotspots for population structure.
Heliconius nattereri C. Felder & R. Felder, 1865 is an enigmatic and rarely collected species. Because of severe habitat reduction, the species is currently listed as endangered. We here report the confirmation of a northernmost population. This collection and further observations reported here add two more known localites to the distribution of the species. Two of the three confirmed locations are in protected areas. We worry that the northern population may be at great risk because it is not formally protected. We urge conservation efforts to preserve the local forests where the species is found.
Onildo J Marini-Filho
added a project goal
This project focuses on presenting monitoring techniques, data analysis and monitoring initiatives for butterflies in the tropical region.
 
Onildo J Marini-Filho
added 3 research items
In the last decades, there has been a considerable increase in literature concerning ecological studies employing bait traps to capture butterflies. The growing interest in this kind of studies has given rise to a demanding group of young students and researchers looking for information and standardized protocols. Due to such growing interest in bait trap studies, this review aims to discuss (i) the basic aspects of the main technique of collection and sampling methods, and (ii) alternative solutions of different bait trap surveys in the Neotropics. Common mistakes that could undermine the quality and comparability of obtained data are also discussed.
As borboletas frugívoras, que se alimentam de frutos fermentados, são representadas pelas subfamílias Biblidinae, Charaxinae, Nymphalinae e Satyrinae, compreendendo de 50 a 75% da riqueza total dos Nymphalidae neotropicais. Por possuírem reprodução rápida, estreitas associações com habitats e plantas hospedeiras, as borboletas frugívoras são sensíveis a impactos ambientais de diferentes escalas, configurando um grupo bioindicador importante do estado de conservação de hábitats e ecossistemas. Levantamentos realizados no Parque Nacional de Brasília (PNB) em 1992 registraram a ocorrência de 104 espécies de borboletas, representando 14% de todas as espécies esperadas no Planalto Central, tendo sido indicada a necessidade de aumento do esforço amostral na UC. O objetivo deste trabalho é apresentar dados preliminares de ocorrência, riqueza e abundância de borboletas frugívoras no PNB, sendo este um levantamento pioneiro do grupo na UC. Foram utilizadas armadilhas do tipo Van Someren-Rydon (VSR) iscadas com banana fermentada em açúcar mascavo por dois dias. Foram estabelecidos 12 transectos lineares (unidades amostrais – UA), sendo quatro em cada módulo de 5 km. As UA ficaram distantes cerca de 1 km entre si. Cada UA continha quatro armadilhas distanciadas cerca de 20 metros entre si. As revisões e substituições de iscas das armadilhas foram feitas todos os dias pela manhã durante os eventos amostrais. Ocorreram três campanhas amostrais nos meses de setembro de 2013, março e abril de 2014, totalizando 27 eventos amostrais. Os espécimes foram armazenados em envelopes entomológicos com registro de hora, local de coleta e data e posteriormente identificados, registrados em planilha e depositados na coleção entomológica do CECAT. Indivíduos de espécies abundantes e já inventariadas foram capturados, marcados, registrados e soltos. Para cálculo dos estimadores de riqueza, curvas de acumulação de espécies e índices de diversidade foram utilizados os softwares EstimateS (R.K.Colwell, 2013) e Past 3 (Harper, D.A.T., et al, 2001), respectivamente. Foram registrados 666 indivíduos de 37 espécies, entre marcações e capturas para elaboração da coleção de referência. Esse total preliminar representa 51,42%, 45,88%, 69,33% e 54,95% das estimativas de riqueza de Chao 1, Chao 2, Jackknife 1 e Jackknife 2, respectivamente. A curva de rarefação de espécies extrapolada indica que a riqueza total esperada é de 101 espécies. As curvas de rarefação de espécies e os índices de diversidade Margalef, Shannon e Alfa de Fisher indicam que, dentre as 12 UA, as duas que amostraram matas de galeria (UA 4 e 6) apresentaram uma riqueza superior as demais UA, as quais amostraram áreas de cerrado stricto-sensu. Isto pode estar relacionado à maior umidade relativa das matas de galeria ao longo do ano, favorecendo a viabilidade de recursos alimentares por mais tempo, em comparação às áreas de cerrado stricto sensu. Foram registradas 15 espécies com apenas um indivíduo e 4 espécies respondendo por 70% da abundância total, seguindo um padrão de abundância com tendência de distribuição log-série, o que reforça o padrão de diversidade neotropical para o grupo. A curva de acúmulo de espécies não apresentou assíntotas, o que, em conjunto com as demais estimativas, indica a necessidade de aumento do esforço amostral para avaliação da ocorrência, abundância e riqueza total de espécies, o que possibilitará estratégias futuras para ações de conservação do grupo na UC.
Onildo J Marini-Filho
added 3 research items
This video provides the main guidelines for collecting frugivorous butterflies data according to the protocol adopted by the ICMBio/MMA In situ Biodiversity Monitoring Program. Realização: Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio), Ministério do Meio Ambiente (MMA) Apoio: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit Roteiro e direção: Luiza São Thiago - Metamorfose
Insects dominate terrestrial biodiversity in terms of species numbers and biomass and are integral to ecosystem function. Yet there is a dearth of information on their conservation status and population trends - in particular at the global scale. Central to addressing biodiversity loss are appropriate policies, plans and actions at local, national and regional scales. Monitoring is a critical requirement in assessing the environmental policy process and effectiveness of various conservation measures. Well-designed and harmonized butterfly monitoring programs make it possible to assess the trends of butterfly populations across time and space and it allows us to track population changes on various scales. These trends can be used as indicators of biodiversity and environmental change. from standardized monitoring protocols are needed.
Márcio Zikán Cardoso
added 2 research items
Eucalyptus plantations are increasing in Brazil, frequently replacing pastures, but there is still scarce information about its capacity to maintain the fauna of neighbor forest remnants. In this study, we compared descriptors of the communities of leaf litter organisms (lizards, anurans, myriapods, arachnids, orthopterans, coleopterans, and ants) between a large remnant of primary Atlantic Forest and an adjacent eucalyptus monoculture (phase 1). Then, we compared the same descriptors for leaf litter lizards and anurans, Euglossini bees, and frugivorous butterflies among the largest remnant, small remnants at intermediate regeneration stage, and eucalyptus monocultures that were not adjacent to the largest remnant (phase 2). Monocultures were sampled immediately before logging. In phase 1, we detected significant differences in structure between the forest and the monoculture in six out of seven communities sampled. Ca. 81% of the species of the landscape were recorded in the forest, but only 54% of these were found also in the monoculture. In phase 2, the structure of two out of four forest communities was significantly different from the structure of small remnants and monocultures. On average, 76% of the species found in the whole landscape were sampled in the forest. Out of this subset, on average 74% of the species were also sampled in small remnants and 68% in monocultures. Findings of the present study point out a moderate capacity of eucalyptus monocultures to harbor species of the forest fauna even when fully grown but highlights the opportunity that they might offer for increasing connectivity in anthropogenic forest landscapes depending on their management
Onildo J Marini-Filho
added a research item
Organisms must possess good dispersal ability to persist in fragmented landscapes, as extinction in habitat patches is frequent and patches must be re-colonised to keep viable metapopulations. Thus, metapopulation maintenance is dependent on patch size and distance, although these affect species differently. In order to evaluate the ability of Nymphalid butterfly species to live in naturally fragmented small forest fragments we marked and released 3,415 butterflies in 16 of these areas separated in two networks at the Serra da Canastra National Park (PNSC), south-eastern Brazil. Subsequent recaptures in different forest fragments enabled us to assess the dispersal rates and distances for several Nymphalid species. Seventeen butterflies from 11 out of the 50 species captured were directly observed to disperse from 500m to 870m. Dispersal rates varied between 1 and 7% of the marked individuals and were directly correlated to the mean forewing length of each butterfly species population. The connectivity of the forest fragments through creeks appear to facilitate butterfly dispersal among fragments within micro-basins, as only one out of 50 dispersing individuals was observed to fly from one micro-basin to the other. Several species had viable populations in the small-fragment network. The distance between fragments is crucial as the coarser fragment network was unlikely to sustain viable populations of most of the species. The protection of large forest fragments located outside of the PNSC may be necessary to promote colonization of the smaller forest fragments inside the Park.
Onildo J Marini-Filho
added a research item
Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) has been developing a national monitoring programme at its Protected Areas (PAs). Butterflies are one of the four indicators chosen to be monitored nationwide. RedeLep, the Brazilian "Butterfly Research and Conservation Network", has carried on field research tests to use frugivorous nymphalid butterflies (Van Someren-Rydon traps) and produced a protocol for monitoring frugivorous butterflies. The first protocol is already being applied at several federally protected areas as part of the National Biodiversity Monitoring Scheme coordinated by ICMBio. With the aid of the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ), ICMBio has compiled information on the use of the indicators, published sampling protocols and field guides, as well as training workshops in order to implement the National Monitoring Scheme. Although this initiative is still new, the scheme set in place is beginning to generate data for several species across Brazil. This protocol and associated monitoring scheme may be a good starting point for several other tropical countries to develop their own monitoring programmes.