The butterflies of Barro Colorado Island, Panama: local extinction since the 1930s

Fontaneto, D., Basset, Y., Barrios, H., Segar, S.T., Srygley, R.B., Aiello, A., Warren, A.D., Delgado, F., Coronado, J., Lezcano, J., Arizala, S., Rivera, M., Perez, F., Bobadilla, R., Lopez, Yacksecari and Ramirez, J.A. (2015) The butterflies of Barro Colorado Island, Panama: local extinction since the 1930s. PLOS ONE, 10 (8). e0136623.

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Few data are available about the regional or local extinction of tropical butterfly species.When confirmed, local extinction was often due to the loss of host-plant species. We usedpublished lists and recent monitoring programs to evaluate changes in butterfly compositionon Barro Colorado Island (BCI, Panama) between an old (1923–1943) and a recent (1993–2013) period. Although 601 butterfly species have been recorded from BCI during the1923–2013 period, we estimate that 390 species are currently breeding on the island,including 34 cryptic species, currently only known by their DNA Barcode Index Number.Twenty-three butterfly species that were considered abundant during the old period couldnot be collected during the recent period, despite a much higher sampling effort in recenttimes. We consider these species locally extinct from BCI and they conservatively represent6% of the estimated local pool of resident species. Extinct species represent distant phylo-genetic branches and several families. The butterfly traits most likely to influence the proba-bility of extinction were host growth form, wing size and host specificity, independently ofthe phylogenetic relationships among butterfly species. On BCI, most likely candidates forextinction were small hesperiids feeding on herbs (35% of extinct species). However, con-trary to our working hypothesis, extinction of these species on BCI cannot be attributed toloss of host plants. In most cases these host plants remain extant, but they probably subsistat lower or more fragmented densities. Coupled with low dispersal power, this reducedavailability of host plants has probably caused the local extinction of some butterfly species.Many more bird than butterfly species have been lost from BCI recently, confirming thatsmall preserves may be far more effective at conserving invertebrates than vertebrates and,therefore, should not necessarily be neglected from a conservation viewpoint

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Crop and Environment Sciences (to 31.07.20)
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2020 16:45
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2020 16:45

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