Special Issue "Butterfly Biodiversity and Conservation"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Ecology, Diversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Dr. David G. James
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Entomology, Washington State University, IAREC, 24106 N. Bunn Road, Prosser, WA 99350, USA
Interests: Lepidoptera; biology; conservation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Kathleen L. Prudic
Website
Guest Editor
School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, 1064 East Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Interests: big data; butterflies; citizen science; conservation; ecology; pollinators

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Butterflies are the public face of insect decline. They are the insect world’s best ambassadors, capturing the minds and imaginations of people all over the world. However, our knowledge of these charismatic insects is still in many ways fragmentary and in need of serious amplification. We know surprisingly little about the biodiversity and life histories of butterflies, sometimes even of the more common species, which compromises our ability to develop and implement effective conservation programs for them. Even the well-studied North American butterfly fauna has yielded at least two new species within the past few years, and the life histories of the Pacific Northwest and UK butterfly faunas have only recently been described. In this Special Issue, we welcome contributions relating to the biodiversity and conservation of butterflies throughout the world.

Dr. David G. James
Dr. Kathleen L. Prudic
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 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

  • butterflies
  • biodiversity
  • conservation
  • life histories
  • decline

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A Unique Population in a Unique Area: The Alcon Blue Butterfly and Its Specific Parasitoid in the Białowieża Forest
Insects 2020, 11(10), 687; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100687 - 12 Oct 2020
Abstract
Caterpillars of the Alcon blue butterfly Phengaris alcon are initially endophytic and feed inside the flowerheads of Gentiana plants, but complete their development as social parasites in the nests of Myrmica ants, where they are fed by workers. Its specific and complicated ecological [...] Read more.
Caterpillars of the Alcon blue butterfly Phengaris alcon are initially endophytic and feed inside the flowerheads of Gentiana plants, but complete their development as social parasites in the nests of Myrmica ants, where they are fed by workers. Its specific and complicated ecological requirements make P. alcon a very local, threatened species, sensitive to environmental changes. We investigated an isolated and previously unknown population in an area of high nature value—the Białowieża Forest (NE Poland). Using the mark–release–recapture method we estimated the seasonal number of adults at 1460 individuals, and their density (850/ha) was the highest among all populations using G. pneumonanthe studied so far. The site is also unique due to the presence of the specific parasitoid Ichneumon cf. eumerus, and parasitoids are considered the ultimate indicators of the biodiversity of Phengaris systems. Since 75.5% of P. alcon pupae were infested we could estimate the seasonal population of adult wasps at about 4500 individuals. The high abundance of both P. alcon and its parasitoid may be explained by favorable habitat characteristics, i.e., the strong presence of host plants and the high density of nests of Myrmica scabrinodis, which is the only local host ant of the butterfly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Biodiversity and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Distribution of Pollinating Butterflies in Yunnan Province, Southwest China with Resource Conservation Implications
Insects 2020, 11(8), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11080525 - 12 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Pollinating butterflies are an important asset to agriculture, which still depends on wild resources. Yunnan Province in Southwest China is a region with typical montane agriculture, but this resource is poorly investigated. From literature reference and specimen examination, the present study identified 554 [...] Read more.
Pollinating butterflies are an important asset to agriculture, which still depends on wild resources. Yunnan Province in Southwest China is a region with typical montane agriculture, but this resource is poorly investigated. From literature reference and specimen examination, the present study identified 554 species of pollinating butterflies (50.8% of the total butterflies) from Yunnan, with family Nymphalidae possessing the least number of pollinators (80 species, 16.0%), while the remaining four families are pollinator-rich (>73%). Tropical lowlands and mountain-valley areas possess higher species richness than those with plain terrains. The species richness of pollinating butterflies in Yunnan does not simply decline with the increase of latitude, nor is significantly different between West and East Yunnan. Zonation of pollinating butterflies using the parsimony analysis of endemicity (PAE) identified nine distribution zones and ten subzones. Most areas of endemism (AOE) are found in lowlands or mountain-valley areas, complexity of terrains, climates, and vegetation types are believed to be the main causes of such endemicity. The potential pollinating service of these butterflies could be great to montane agriculture with expanding areas of cash crops and fruit horticulture. Conservation strategies for pollinating butterflies may consist of preserving habitats and establishing butterfly-friendly agriculture based on local traditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Biodiversity and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
Are the Yellow and Red Marked Club-Tail Losaria coon the Same Species?
Insects 2020, 11(6), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11060392 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Losaria coon (Fabricius, 1793) is currently comprised of ten subspecies, which were originally described under two names, Papilio coon and P. doubledayi before 1909, when they were combined as one species. The main difference between them is the colour of abdomen and hindwing [...] Read more.
Losaria coon (Fabricius, 1793) is currently comprised of ten subspecies, which were originally described under two names, Papilio coon and P. doubledayi before 1909, when they were combined as one species. The main difference between them is the colour of abdomen and hindwing subterminal spots—yellow in coon and red in doubledayi. Wing morphology, male and female genitalia, and molecular evidence (DNA barcodes) were analysed for multiple subspecies of L. coon and three other Losaria species—rhodifer, neptunus, and palu. Our molecular data support the separation of L. coon and L. doubledayi stat. rev. as two distinct species, with L. rhodifer positioned between them in phylogenetic analyses. Wing morphology and genitalic structures also confirm the molecular conclusions. Our findings divide L. coon into two species occupying different geographic ranges: with L. coon restricted to southern Sumatra, Java, and Bawean Island, while L. doubledayi occurs widely in regions from North India to northern Sumatra, including Hainan and Nicobar Islands. Hence, future conservation efforts must reassess the status and threat factors of the two species to form updated strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Biodiversity and Conservation)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Her Majesty’s Desert Throne: The Ecology of Queen Butterfly Oviposition on Mojave Milkweed Host Plants
Insects 2020, 11(4), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11040257 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Butterfly–host plant relationships can inform our understanding of ecological and trophic interactions that contribute to ecosystem function, resiliency, and services. The ecology of danaid–milkweed (Apocynaceae) host plant interactions has been studied in several biomes but is neglected in deserts. Our objective was to [...] Read more.
Butterfly–host plant relationships can inform our understanding of ecological and trophic interactions that contribute to ecosystem function, resiliency, and services. The ecology of danaid–milkweed (Apocynaceae) host plant interactions has been studied in several biomes but is neglected in deserts. Our objective was to determine effects of plant traits, seasonality, and landscape-level host plant availability on selection of Mojave milkweed (Asclepias nyctaginifolia A. Gray) by ovipositing monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus plexippus) and queen butterflies (Danaus gilippus thersippus) in the Californian Mojave Desert. We surveyed all known Mojave milkweed locations in the Ivanpah Valley, California (n = 419) during early, mid-, and late spring in 2017. For each survey, we counted monarch and queen butterfly eggs on each Mojave milkweed plant. We also measured canopy cover, height, volume, and reproductive stage of each Mojave milkweed plant. We counted a total of 276 queen butterfly eggs and zero monarch butterfly eggs on Mojave milkweed host plants. We determined that count of queen butterfly eggs significantly increased with increasing Mojave milkweed canopy cover. Additionally, count of queen butterfly eggs was: (1) greater on adult Mojave milkweed plants than on juvenile and seedling plants and greater on juvenile Mojave milkweed plants than on seedling plants; and (2) greater during early spring than mid-spring—we recorded no eggs during late spring. Based on aggregation indices, queen butterfly eggs occurred on Mojave milkweed plants in a nonrandom, clustered pattern throughout the Ivanpah Valley. We provide the first evidence of trophic interactions between queen butterflies and Mojave milkweed at multiple spatial scales in the Mojave Desert, suggesting that conservation and management practices for both species should be implemented concurrently. Given its role as an herbivore, pollinator and prey, the queen butterfly may serve as a model organism for understanding effects of anthropogenic disturbance (e.g., solar energy development) on “bottom-up” and trophic interactions among soils, plants and animals in desert ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Biodiversity and Conservation)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Butterfly Conservation in China: From Science to Action
Insects 2020, 11(10), 661; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100661 - 25 Sep 2020
Abstract
About 10% of the Earth’s butterfly species inhabit the highly diverse ecosystems of China. Important for the ecological, economic, and cultural services they provide, many butterfly species experience threats from land use shifts and climate change. China has recently adopted policies to protect [...] Read more.
About 10% of the Earth’s butterfly species inhabit the highly diverse ecosystems of China. Important for the ecological, economic, and cultural services they provide, many butterfly species experience threats from land use shifts and climate change. China has recently adopted policies to protect the nation’s biodiversity resources. This essay examines the current management of butterflies in China and suggests various easily implementable actions that could improve these conservation efforts. Our recommendations are based on the observations of a transdisciplinary group of entomologists and environmental policy specialists. Our analysis draws on other successful examples around the world that China may wish to consider. China needs to modify its scientific methodologies behind butterfly conservation management: revising the criteria for listing protected species, focusing on umbrella species for broader protection, identifying high priority areas and refugia for conservation, among others. Rural and urban land uses that provide heterogeneous habitats, as well as butterfly host and nectar plants, must be promoted. Butterfly ranching and farming may also provide opportunities for sustainable community development. Many possibilities exist for incorporating observations of citizen scientists into butterfly data collection at broad spatial and temporal scales. Our recommendations further the ten Priority Areas of China’s National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2011–2030). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Biodiversity and Conservation)
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