Distribution of Topical Butterflies in Disturbed Island Habitats of Bocas del Toro, Panamá

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2017-04-11
Authors
Crees, Logan
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School for Field Studies
Abstract

Rhopalocera (butterflies) are considered to be an indicator for environmental health and quality. But little is known about how butterflies are distributed within tropical landscapes. In order to better understand how to use butterflies as indicators of environmental health, it’s important to know how butterflies are distributed throughout the landscape. Disturbed lowland evergreen rainforest offer many habitat types with varying degrees of canopy coverage and understory growth. These areas are currently experiencing widespread anthropogenic disturbance. Because of this, several studies have been conducted to examine the effects of disturbance on butterfly species in an attempt to better understand the effect on the ecological community as a whole. This study looks at the distribution of butterflies in tropical island habitats and found that butterflies are typically found in areas where more light exist, though one family, Riodinidae was found to have a weak negative correlation to canopy openness. It was also found that butterflies in the family Nymphalidae and Hesperiidae were most abundant in tropical island habitats.

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