Eur. J. Entomol. 106 (4): 611-618, 2009 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2009.077

Ecology of a relict population of the vulnerable butterfly Pyrgus sidae on the Iberian Peninsula (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)

Juan L. HERNÁNDEZ-ROLDÁN, Miguel L. MUNGUIRA, José MARTÍN
Departamento de Biología (Zoología), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, C/ Darwin, 2, ES-28049 Madrid, Spain;

There are isolated populations of the endangered butterfly, Pyrgus sidae, on the Iberian Peninsula. The mark-release-recapture method was used to study the population parameters, the use of resources and the spatial distribution of a population in the centre of Spain. The estimated number of males and females within the population were similar and did not differ significantly from a ratio of 1 : 1. Total population size was estimated to be 569 ± 83 individuals. Potentilla recta is the principal adult nectar source and larval food plant, and its abundance is correlated with the number of marked and recaptured butterflies. The average total distance moved between capture and recapture was significantly greater for males than females, but the average daily distances moved were similar for both sexes. The spatial distribution of the movements of males and females was of a uniform type and lacked a predominant flight direction, which is typical of sedentary species. Continuing the traditional land use (cattle grazing or hay mowing) of the habitat of the species keeps the habitat open, which is necessary if the butterfly is to survive at this locality. These management practices favour P. recta, which would otherwise succumb to competition from invasive shrubs. Taking into account the habitat requirements of this species, it is important to conserve the mosaic of meadows already present in the area.

Keywords: Conservation, Hesperiidae, Lepidoptera, mark-release-recapture, population parameters, Pyrgus sidae, relict population, resource use, spatial distribution, Iberian Peninsula, Potentilla recta

Received: December 12, 2008; Accepted: May 14, 2009; Published: November 20, 2009

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