Special Issue "Butterfly Conservation"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2018)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Butterflies are some of the most recognizable and well-loved insects in the world. This Special Issue will explore what is known about butterfly declines, and what we are learning about to conserving them in a changing world.

Reports from practically every continent are documenting unprecedented declines in a broad suite of butterflies. Studies in Europe have revealed that grassland butterfly species have declined by almost 50 percent in just two decades and three quarters of the butterflies in the United Kingdom are in decline. In the United States, at least six types of butterflies have gone extinct since 1950, 25 species are listed as endangered nationwide, and four are threatened. Most of the butterflies assessed have a narrow geographic range or very specific habitat requirements. However, many lepidopterists are reporting that broadly distributed butterflies are also in decline.

A wide range of threats—habitat loss, climate change, disease, pesticides, and invasive plants—have been implicated in butterfly declines. We anticipate that papers in this Special Issue will 1) summarize evidence of broad patterns of declining butterflies numbers and their value as bioindicators, 2) provide case studies of causes of decline threats to individual species, and what actions are needed to ensure their protection, and 3) summarize butterfly conservation success stories.

Dr. Karen Oberhauser
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Butterfly conservation
  • Endangered species
  • Insect conservation

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Water Availability Coincides with Population Declines for an Endangered Butterfly
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030094
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
As global climate change causes population declines across numerous taxa, it becomes critical to understand the specific pathway by which climatic and anthropogenic factors influence population size. Water availability is a key environmental condition that links climate and humans to species response, especially
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As global climate change causes population declines across numerous taxa, it becomes critical to understand the specific pathway by which climatic and anthropogenic factors influence population size. Water availability is a key environmental condition that links climate and humans to species response, especially for rare or threatened butterflies that are highly sensitive to changes in climate and the surrounding landscape. We use the wetland-dependent endangered St. Francis’ satyr butterfly (Neonympha mitchellii francisci) to test how changes in water availability affect population size via changes in host plant growth. We show that long-term declines in water availability are directly linked to a decline in host plant growth and contributed to a population decrease of 95% for St. Francis’ satyrs in the past decade, threatening the persistence of the species. Recent restoration work, which includes efforts to increase water availability via hardwood removal, has been successful in increasing population numbers. Many butterflies are broadly dependent on water availability and flow, and only by understanding the specific pathway that directly links water availability to species response can we make effective conservation plans to prepare for the altered water conditions of the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Climatic Conditions and Land Cover on Genetic Structure and Diversity of Eunica tatila (Lepidoptera) in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030079
Received: 18 June 2018 / Revised: 28 July 2018 / Accepted: 29 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Abstract
Fragmentation is the third cause of the biodiversity declination. Population genetic studies using Lepidoptera as the model species in the context of loss of habitat are scarce, particularly for tropical areas. We chose a widespread butterfly from Mexico as the model species to
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Fragmentation is the third cause of the biodiversity declination. Population genetic studies using Lepidoptera as the model species in the context of loss of habitat are scarce, particularly for tropical areas. We chose a widespread butterfly from Mexico as the model species to explore how changes of habitat characteristics (undisturbed forest, anthropogenic disturbances, and coastal areas), and climatic conditions affect genetic diversity and population structure. The Nymphalidae Eunica tatila is a common species in the Yucatan Peninsula considered to be a bio-indicator of undisturbed tropical forest, with migratory potential and a possible sex-biased dispersal. We genotyped 323 individuals collected in eight undisturbed areas, using four Inter Simple Sequence Repeats primers. Results show a high genetic diversity and no population structure. Temperature and shrub density present a positive and significant relationship with polymorphism values. Furthermore, our results show the positive effect of surrounding forest habitat on genetic diversity, confirming that E. tatila is a bio-indicator of undisturbed tropical forest. We found evidence of sex-biased dispersal. This paper represents one of the few studies on population genetics of tropical butterfly in a fragmented landscape and is, therefore, an important step in understanding the impact of habitat fragmentation on the risk of a butterflies’ decline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Patterns of Long-Term Population Trends of Three Lupine-Feeding Butterflies in Wisconsin
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020031
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
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Abstract
We monitored consecutive generations of three lupine-feeding specialist butterflies in pine-oak barrens in central Wisconsin, USA: Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus), Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), and Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius) during 1991–2014. We also monitored the summer
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We monitored consecutive generations of three lupine-feeding specialist butterflies in pine-oak barrens in central Wisconsin, USA: Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus), Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), and Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius) during 1991–2014. We also monitored the summer generation of Karner Blues in northwestern Wisconsin. We present results on 24 sites for Frosted Elfin and Persius Duskywing, and 39 sites for Karner Blue. Land uses in sites occupied by the federally endangered Karner Blue are regulated. Economically utilized lands classified as “Shifting Mosaic” (SM) (forestry land) or “Permanency of Habitat” (PH) (rights-of-way) are afforded a lower standard of conservation results than the more favorable management expected of Reserves (R). For all three species, reserve sites had more favorable trends than permanency of habitat and shifting mosaic sites. Frosted Elfin and Persius Duskywing had more strongly negative trends in permanency of habitat than shifting mosaic, but vice versa for Karner Blue. Shifting mosaic sites added more recently to the study had negative trends, but not as strongly as longer-monitored shifting mosaic sites. Another large shifting mosaic complex (Hunter Haven), monitored in 17 years during 1995–2014 for Frosted Elfin and Persius Duskywing, had non-negative trends. Individual reserve sites also had more favorable trends than collectively for all reserve sites, including significant positive trends for Persius Duskywing and Karner Blue, and a stable trend for Frosted Elfin. Thus, land use is implicated not only for declines but also for effective conservation of these species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Improving Standards for At-Risk Butterfly Translocations
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030067
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
The use of human mediated translocations has been an increasing component of many species recovery initiatives, including for numerous imperiled Lepidopteran species. Despite the identified need for this ex situ strategy, few such programs are conducted in a scientifically repeatable way, are executed
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The use of human mediated translocations has been an increasing component of many species recovery initiatives, including for numerous imperiled Lepidopteran species. Despite the identified need for this ex situ strategy, few such programs are conducted in a scientifically repeatable way, are executed with a structured decision-making process, are well documented throughout, or are documented only in gray literature. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations are an important tool for conservation practitioners to help implement comprehensive translocation planning. These generalized guidelines are intended to be applicable to all taxa. Though there is a growing body of literature and supplementary guidelines for many vertebrate classes, other proposed standards fail to capture the specific biology of many invertebrate groups, like Lepidoptera. Here, we present a targeted list of detailed recommendations that are appropriate for Lepidopteran translocation programs to expand on the broad and tested guidelines developed by the IUCN. We assert that the increased standardization and repeatability among Lepidopteran translocations will improve the conservation outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
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