Changes in butterfly distributions and species assemblages on a Neotropical mountain range in response to global warming and anthropogenic land use
Periodo de realización: 2016/06/01 al 2016/01/01
Tipo: Artículo científico
Lugar(es) de estudio: Santiago Comaltepec, Oax., México
Aim. To assess the changes in the elevational distribution of 151 butterfly species
over a period of 22 years (1988–2011) and investigate whether these
changes are related to regional global warming and land use change.
Location Sierra de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Methods. Butterflies were surveyed at eight sites spanning elevations ranging
from 117 m to 3000 m in 1988, and the same sites were resurveyed in 2010–
2011. Changes in the elevational distribution of species and the structure and
composition of species assemblages were compared between surveys. The results
were interpreted in the context of land use and climate change in the region.
Results. Butterfly species had shifted their distributions uphill by approximately
145 m on average. Significantly more species (78) showed an uphill shift in
their distributions than a downhill shift (32 species). Species occurring above
1000 m elevation had shifted their distribution to an extent that matched the
range shift expected under the recorded temperature changes. However, for
species occurring below 1000 m elevation, and for all species combined, uphill
range shifts were significantly less than expected based solely on the increase in
temperature. Land use change over the study period was more pronounced at
low elevations, and these butterfly assemblages are now dominated by generalist
Main conclusions. Our results represent the first concrete evidence of shifts in
elevation distribution of a large Neotropical butterfly community, attributable
to increased regional temperatures. At high elevations, land use change is minimal
and climate change appears to be the main driver of changes to distributions
and assemblages, and the main conservation threat. However, extensive
land use change has been the main driver of changes to butterfly communities
at lower elevations."