Eur. J. Entomol. 108 (4): 623-633, 2011 | 10.14411/eje.2011.081

Butterfly diversity and biogeography on the Croatian karst mountain Biokovo: Vertical distribution and preference for altitude and aspect?

Iva MIHOCI1, Vladimir HRŠAK2, Mladen KUČINIĆ3, Vlatka MIČETIĆ STANKOVIĆ3, Antun DELIĆ4, Nikola TVRTKOVIĆ1
1 Croatian Natural History Museum, Department of Zoology, Demetrova 1, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia; e-mails: iva.mihoci@hpm.hr, nikola.tvrtkovic@hpm.hr
2 University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Maruli üev Trg 20/II, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia; e-mail: vhrsak@lipa.botanic.hr
3 University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Group of Systematic Zoology & Entomology, Rooseveltov trg 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia; e-mails: kucinic@zg.biol.pmf.hr, vmicetic@zg.biol.pmf.hr
4 Faculty of Education, Savska cesta 77, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia; e-mail: a_delic@yahoo.com

Geographic isolation, altitude, climate, landscape and habitat are significant predictors of butterfly diversity in mountain ecosystems. Their diversity and its dependence on altitude, aspect (compass bearing) and biogeographic characteristics of the butterflies were surveyed on the karst mountain Biokovo in southern Croatia. The results affirm that there is a high diversity of butterflies in the study area and the species composition and biogeographic elements are more dependent on altitude than aspect of the mountain. The present study indicates that climate, relief and habitat preferences strongly influence the biogeographic features of species and the relationship between species richness per site and altitude, aspect and the altitude-aspect interaction.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, butterflies, Dinaric karst, aspect, altitude, indicators

Received: July 19, 2010; Accepted: June 9, 2011; Published: October 3, 2011

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