Special Issue "Butterfly Conservation"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jaret C. Daniels

Department of Entomology and Nematology and Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 3215 Hull Road, P.O. Box 112710, Gainesville, FL 32611-2710, USA
E-Mail
Interests: insect conservation; biodiversity, behavior and ecology of Lepidoptera; pollination ecology; road ecology; population biology; non-target pesticide impacts; seasonal ecology and polyphenism; captive propagation and organism reintroduction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Butterflies are iconic, charismatic organisms that are experiencing significant declines worldwide. Habitat loss, habitat degradation, invasive species, and global climate change are primary drivers responsible for accelerating levels of imperilment, reducing extant populations to perilously low numbers and greatly restricted geographic areas of occupancy. Effective conservation of these increasingly small populations necessitates more aggressive, innovative and collaborative approaches to promote organism recovery and effective long-term management. Top priorities include techniques and best practices that can directly promote improved strategic decision-making and increase overall program success. This special issue fill focus on advances in both ex situ and in situ butterfly conservation that can have meaningful implications for practitioners.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jaret C. Daniels
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • Metapopulation dynamics
  • Conservation planning and implementation
  • Ex situ conservation
  • Organism reintroduction or translocation
  • Habitat and species management
  • Habitat restoration
  • Threats and drivers
  • Conservation genetics

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle eButterfly: Leveraging Massive Online Citizen Science for Butterfly Conservation
Insects 2017, 8(2), 53; doi:10.3390/insects8020053
Received: 10 April 2017 / Revised: 5 May 2017 / Accepted: 12 May 2017 / Published: 18 May 2017
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Abstract
Data collection, storage, analysis, visualization, and dissemination are changing rapidly due to advances in new technologies driven by computer science and universal access to the internet. These technologies and web connections place human observers front and center in citizen science-driven research and are
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Data collection, storage, analysis, visualization, and dissemination are changing rapidly due to advances in new technologies driven by computer science and universal access to the internet. These technologies and web connections place human observers front and center in citizen science-driven research and are critical in generating new discoveries and innovation in such fields as astronomy, biodiversity, and meteorology. Research projects utilizing a citizen science approach address scientific problems at regional, continental, and even global scales otherwise impossible for a single lab or even a small collection of academic researchers. Here we describe eButterfly an integrative checklist-based butterfly monitoring and database web-platform that leverages the skills and knowledge of recreational butterfly enthusiasts to create a globally accessible unified database of butterfly observations across North America. Citizen scientists, conservationists, policy makers, and scientists are using eButterfly data to better understand the biological patterns of butterfly species diversity and how environmental conditions shape these patterns in space and time. eButterfly in collaboration with thousands of butterfly enthusiasts has created a near real-time butterfly data resource producing tens of thousands of observations per year open to all to share and explore. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Estimating Density and Temperature Dependence of Juvenile Vital Rates Using a Hidden Markov Model
Insects 2017, 8(2), 51; doi:10.3390/insects8020051
Received: 16 December 2016 / Revised: 27 March 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 15 May 2017
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Abstract
Organisms in the wild have cryptic life stages that are sensitive to changing environmental conditions and can be difficult to survey. In this study, I used mark-recapture methods to repeatedly survey Anaea aidea (Nymphalidae) caterpillars in nature, then modeled caterpillar demography as a
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Organisms in the wild have cryptic life stages that are sensitive to changing environmental conditions and can be difficult to survey. In this study, I used mark-recapture methods to repeatedly survey Anaea aidea (Nymphalidae) caterpillars in nature, then modeled caterpillar demography as a hidden Markov process to assess if temporal variability in temperature and density influence the survival and growth of A. aidea over time. Individual encounter histories result from the joint likelihood of being alive and observed in a particular stage, and I have included hidden states by separating demography and observations into parallel and independent processes. I constructed a demographic matrix containing the probabilities of all possible fates for each stage, including hidden states, e.g., eggs and pupae. I observed both dead and live caterpillars with high probability. Peak caterpillar abundance attracted multiple predators, and survival of fifth instars declined as per capita predation rate increased through spring. A time lag between predator and prey abundance was likely the cause of improved fifth instar survival estimated at high density. Growth rates showed an increase with temperature, but the preferred model did not include temperature. This work illustrates how state-space models can include unobservable stages and hidden state processes to evaluate how environmental factors influence vital rates of cryptic life stages in the wild. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Demographic Variation of Wolbachia Infection in the Endangered Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly
Insects 2017, 8(2), 50; doi:10.3390/insects8020050
Received: 1 April 2017 / Revised: 2 May 2017 / Accepted: 4 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
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Abstract
The Mitchell’s satyr, Neonympha mitchellii, is an endangered species that is limited to highly isolated habitats in the northern and southern United States. Conservation strategies for isolated endangered species often implement captive breeding and translocation programs for repopulation. However, these programs risk
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The Mitchell’s satyr, Neonympha mitchellii, is an endangered species that is limited to highly isolated habitats in the northern and southern United States. Conservation strategies for isolated endangered species often implement captive breeding and translocation programs for repopulation. However, these programs risk increasing the spread of harmful pathogens, such as the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia. Wolbachia can manipulate the host’s reproduction leading to incompatibilities between infected and uninfected hosts. This study uses molecular methods to screen for Wolbachia presence across the distribution of the Mitchell’s satyr and its subspecies, St. Francis satyr, which are both federally listed as endangered and are considered two of the rarest butterflies in North America. The screens confirmed the presence of Wolbachia in the northern and newly discovered southern populations of the Mitchell’s satyr, but not in the St. Francis satyr population. These results combined with previous reports of Wolbachia in N. mitchellii, highlight that Wolbachia infection varies both geographically and temporally in satyr populations. The temporal variance shows the importance of continued monitoring of Wolbachia infection during conservation programs. To reduce the risk of reproductive incompatibilities, it is advised that all individuals collected for conservation purposes be screened for Wolbachia and recommended to avoid the use of infected individuals for captive breeding and translocation programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Complex Messages in Long-Term Monitoring of Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in the State of Wisconsin, USA, 1988–2015
Insects 2017, 8(1), 6; doi:10.3390/insects8010006
Received: 15 November 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract
The regal fritillary (“regal”) (Speyeria idalia) is endangered in Wisconsin, USA, and declining and at risk range-wide. During 1988–2015, we surveyed 24 known regal sites and >100 areas of potential habitat in Wisconsin. We recorded 9037 individuals in 742.7 km on
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The regal fritillary (“regal”) (Speyeria idalia) is endangered in Wisconsin, USA, and declining and at risk range-wide. During 1988–2015, we surveyed 24 known regal sites and >100 areas of potential habitat in Wisconsin. We recorded 9037 individuals in 742.7 km on the peak survey per year at occupied sites. At six sites surveyed over 5–25 years, we found regal fritillaries in only one year, mostly in the latter half of the study. The three populations in the state with more favorable trends than the median had a never-burned refugium and/or infrequent fire management. They also all had substantial amounts of grazing, haying, and/or mowing managements. Sites with trends below the regional median trend had frequent or moderate fire management, and either a diminishing never-burned refugium or none at all. Regal populations at sites with ≤15 ha of grassland have become undetectable. Nonetheless, Hogback, a slightly larger than 15 ha site, had the most favorable trend, a significant increase. Nearly all Wisconsin Regal populations known before 1990 declined to consistent non-findability, even though these were conserved sites. More favorable trends at more recently discovered populations may be attributable to species-specific habitat management protocols implemented in the 1990s. Two sites with better than median long-term trends represent the longest consistent land ownership of known Regal populations in the state. This wide range of population outcomes illustrates both the need for long-term monitoring and the challenges of explaining the outcomes. Despite evidence of increasing Regal dispersal, this species remains very localized, indicating the unsuitability of the wider landscape as regal habitat. The number of significantly declining or no longer detectable populations in Wisconsin indicates an ever more adverse landscape for this species. Sites will need to have habitat characteristics that are ever more optimal in a wide range of climatic conditions for Regal populations to persist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Speyeria (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) Conservation
Insects 2017, 8(2), 45; doi:10.3390/insects8020045
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 6 April 2017 / Accepted: 18 April 2017 / Published: 25 April 2017
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Abstract
Speyeria (Nymphalidae) are a conspicuous component of the North American butterfly fauna. There are approximately 16 species and >100 associated subspecies (or geographical variants). Speyeria are univoltine, occupy a wide range of habitats, overwinter as first instar larvae, and feed only on native
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Speyeria (Nymphalidae) are a conspicuous component of the North American butterfly fauna. There are approximately 16 species and >100 associated subspecies (or geographical variants). Speyeria are univoltine, occupy a wide range of habitats, overwinter as first instar larvae, and feed only on native violets. Speyeria species have become a model group for studies of evolution, speciation, and conservation. Several species and subspecies are threatened or endangered. The reasons for this vary with the taxa involved, but always involve the degradation or loss of quality habitat for larvae and adults. The impacts of climate change must be considered among the causes for habitat degradation and in the establishment of conservation measures. In addition to increasing the available habitat, conservation efforts should consider maintaining habitat in a seral “disturbed” successional stage that selectively favors the growth of violets and preferred adult nectar sources. A major future challenge will be determining the most effective allocation of conservation resources to those species and subspecies that have the greatest potential to respond favorably to these efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)

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