Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (4): 555-559, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.057

Species composition and dynamics in abundance of migrant and sedentary butterflies (Lepidoptera) at Gibraltar during the spring period

Keith J. BENSUSAN1, Rebecca NESBIT2, Charles E. PEREZ1, Piotr TRYJANOWSKI3, Piotr ZDUNIAK4,*
1 Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS), Jews' Gate, Upper Rock Nature Reserve, P.O. 843, Gibraltar; e-mail: kbensusan@gonhs.org; cperez@gonhs.org
2 Society of Biology, Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London WC1N 2JU, UK; e-mail: rebeccanesbit@societyofbiology.org
3 Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71 C, 60-625 Poznań, Poland; e-mail: piotr.tryjanowski@gmail.com
4 Department of Avian Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland; e-mail: kudlaty@amu.edu.pl

In order to understand patterns of abundances of migratory Lepidoptera in southernmost Europe and contrast this with those of sedentary species, we studied butterflies surveyed along transects during three spring migration seasons at the Rock of Gibraltar. Overall, 2508 butterflies belonging to 19 species were recorded. Of these, the four most numerous species accounted for almost 88% of all individuals recorded. These were the migratory Clouded Yellow Colias croceus, Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta and Painted Lady Vanessa cardui, and the sedentary Common Blue Polyommatus icarus. There was a significant correlation between abundance of P. icarus and C. croceus. Furthermore, abundances of C. croceus and V. atalanta were correlated. The sometimes very high abundance of migratory butterflies at the study site could suggest that Gibraltar is a stopover site for butterflies migrating between Africa and Europe.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, butterflies, Gibraltar, migration, phenology, species composition

Received: November 4, 2013; Accepted: May 22, 2014; Prepublished online: August 13, 2014; Published: October 1, 2014

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