Next Article in Journal
Distribution and Relative Abundance of Insect Vectors of Xylella fastidiosa in Olive Groves of the Iberian Peninsula
Next Article in Special Issue
Larval Food Limitation in a Speyeria Butterfly (Nymphalidae): How Many Butterflies Can Be Supported?
Previous Article in Journal
The Ecological Significance and Implications of Transovarial Transmission among the Vector-Borne Bunyaviruses: A Review
Previous Article in Special Issue
Field and Laboratory Studies on the Ecology, Reproduction, and Adult Diapause of the Asian Comma Butterfly, Polygonia c-aureum L. (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Drifting Phenologies Cause Reduced Seasonality of Butterflies in Response to Increasing Temperatures

Conservation Department, Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, USA
Thanksgiving Point Institute, Lehi, UT 84043, USA
Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL 32611-2710, USA
Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2710, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2018, 9(4), 174;
Received: 28 August 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Ecology and Conservation)
PDF [4017 KB, uploaded 30 November 2018]


Climate change has caused many ecological changes around the world. Altered phenology is among the most commonly observed effects of climate change, and the list of species interactions affected by altered phenology is growing. Although many studies on altered phenology focus on single species or on pairwise species interactions, most ecological communities are comprised of numerous, ecologically similar species within trophic groups. Using a 12-year butterfly monitoring citizen science data set, we aimed to assess the degree to which butterfly communities may be changing over time. Specifically, we wanted to assess the degree to which phenological sensitivities to temperature could affect temporal overlap among species within communities, independent of changes in abundance, species richness, and evenness. We found that warming winter temperatures may be associated with some butterfly species making use of the coldest months of the year to fly as adults, thus changing temporal co-occurrence with other butterfly species. Our results suggest that changing temperatures could cause immediate restructuring of communities without requiring changes in overall abundance or diversity. Such changes could have fitness consequences for individuals within trophic levels by altering competition for resources, as well as indirect effects mediated by species interactions across trophic levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; citizen science; butterfly; community composition; phenology climate change; citizen science; butterfly; community composition; phenology

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Gezon, Z.J.; Lindborg, R.J.; Savage, A.; Daniels, J.C. Drifting Phenologies Cause Reduced Seasonality of Butterflies in Response to Increasing Temperatures. Insects 2018, 9, 174.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Insects EISSN 2075-4450 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top