The butterflies of Turquino National Park, Sierra Maestra, Cuba (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea)

Núñez, R.

Resum

Les papallones del Parc Nacional Turquino, Sierra Maestra, Cuba (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea)
Entre febrer i novembre de 2011 vam fer un inventari d’espècies, vam crear un registre de dades d’història natural i vam fer una primera aproximació a la composició i estructura de les comunitats de papallones presents en diverses classes de vegetació del Parc Nacional Turquino. L’inventari va incloure 83 espècies, 29 de les quals endèmiques. Vam registrar 57 espècies (18 d’endèmiques) en transsectes situats al llarg dels principals corredors de vegetació. En la vegetació alterada, la riquesa específica era més gran (48) i l’abundància estava més ben distribuïda, tot i que la proporció d’endemisme era més baixa (23%). Amb l’altura, la riquesa d’espècies disminuïa mentre que la dominància i la proporció d’endemisme s’incrementaven. El nombre d’espècies i les proporcions d’endemisme en els hàbitats naturals mostrejats van ser: 19 i 58% al bosc perennifoli, 10 i 60% a la selva pluvial, 8 i 100% al bosc nuvolós i 4 i 100% al bosc nan. Es van registrar flors de 27 plantes com a fonts de nèctar per a 30 espècies de papallones i es van registrar plantes hostes de nou espècies

Paraules clau

Comunitats, Conservació, Història natural, Endemisme, Carib

Data de recepció: 12/10/2012 | Data d'acceptció: 20/02/2013 | Data de publicació: 13/03/2013

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The butterflies of Turquino National Park, Sierra Maestra, Cuba (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea)

Núñez, R.

Abstract

The butterflies of Turquino National Park, Sierra Maestra, Cuba (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea)
Between February and November 2011, we conducted a species inventory, created a natural history database and a made a first approach to the composition and structure of the butterfly communities present at several vegetation types in the Turquino National Park. The inventory included 83 species, 29 of them endemic. We recorded 57 species (18 endemic) in transects along main vegetation pathways. In disturbed vegetation, species richness was higher (48) and abundance was better distributed, but the proportion of endemism was lower (23%). Species richness decreased and the dominance and proportion of endemism increased with altitude. Numbers of species and the proportions of endemism at natural habitats sampled were: 19 and 58% for evergreen forest, 10 and 60% for rainforest, eight and 100% for cloud forest, and four and 100% for the elfin thicket. Flowers of 27 plants were recorded as nectar sources for 30 butterfly species, and host plants were recorded for nine species.

Resumen

Las mariposas del Parque Nacional Turquino, Sierra Maestra, Cuba (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea)
Entre febrero y noviembre de 2011 realizamos un inventario de especies, creamos un registro de datos de historia natural y efectuamos una primera aproximación a la composición y estructura de las comunidades de mariposas presentes en varios tipos de vegetación del Parque Nacional Turquino. El inventario incluyó 83 especies, 29 de ellas endémicas. Registramos 57 especies (18 endémicas) en transectos situados a lo largo de los principales corredores de vegetación. En la vegetación alterada, la riqueza específica era mayor (48) y la abundancia estaba mejor distribuida, aunque la proporción de endemismo era más baja (23%). Con la altura, la riqueza de especies disminuía mientras que la dominancia y la proporción de endemismo se incrementaban. El número de especies y las proporciones de endemismo en los hábitats naturales muestreados fueron: 19 y 58% en el bosque perennifolio, 10 y 60% en la selva pluvial, ocho y 100% en el bosque nuboso y cuatro y 100% en el bosque enano. Se registraron flores de 27 plantas como fuentes de néctar para 30 especies de mariposas y las plantas huésped de nueve especies.

Resum

Les papallones del Parc Nacional Turquino, Sierra Maestra, Cuba (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea)
Entre febrer i novembre de 2011 vam fer un inventari d’espècies, vam crear un registre de dades d’història natural i vam fer una primera aproximació a la composició i estructura de les comunitats de papallones presents en diverses classes de vegetació del Parc Nacional Turquino. L’inventari va incloure 83 espècies, 29 de les quals endèmiques. Vam registrar 57 espècies (18 d’endèmiques) en transsectes situats al llarg dels principals corredors de vegetació. En la vegetació alterada, la riquesa específica era més gran (48) i l’abundància estava més ben distribuïda, tot i que la proporció d’endemisme era més baixa (23%). Amb l’altura, la riquesa d’espècies disminuïa mentre que la dominància i la proporció d’endemisme s’incrementaven. El nombre d’espècies i les proporcions d’endemisme en els hàbitats naturals mostrejats van ser: 19 i 58% al bosc perennifoli, 10 i 60% a la selva pluvial, 8 i 100% al bosc nuvolós i 4 i 100% al bosc nan. Es van registrar flors de 27 plantes com a fonts de nèctar per a 30 espècies de papallones i es van registrar plantes hostes de nou espècies

Introduction

Butterflies are poorly represented in conservation planning in Cuba. Several protected areas of Cuba have species inventories of this group (Fontenla, 1987a, 1987b, 2005; Hernández et al., 1994; Pérez et al., 1999; Núñez, 2004, 2010) but most lack information relevant for their conservation, such as data concerning preferred habitats, food sources for adults and immature stages, population size, and so on.

Cuba has a rich Lepidoptera fauna that includes 192 species of butterflies and skippers (Núñez & Barro, 2012). Of this total, 33 species and 39 subspecies are endemic to the island. Located in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, the Turquino National Park (TNP) harbors several of the Cuban endemic butterflies (Schwartz & Hedges, 1991). The cited authors recorded 37 species, nine of them endemic species and subspecies, along a transect from the south coast to Pico Real del Turquino, 1,974 m, the highest of all mountains in Cuba. Schwartz & Hedges (1991) incompletely described the habitats occupied by some species.

The goal of the present study was to increase the inventory of TNP butterfly species, to conduct a first approach to the composition and structure of its butterfly communities at different vegetation types, and to record all possible natural history data on this group in order to contribute to its future conservation and management.

Materials and methods

Study area and vegetation types
The TNP covers 242.1 km2 in the highest portion of the Sierra Maestra Mountain range in southeastern Cuba, including the country’s highest peak, the Pico Real del Turquino of 1,974 m. Vegetation of the Turquino massif is composed of several natural types of forests and thickets along different altitudes, as well as disturbed vegetation (grasslands and ruderal vegetation) resulting from human activity. Forests include evergreen forest between 300-800 m of elevation, rainforest at 800-1,600 m, and cloud forest between 1,600-1,900 m (Capote & Berazaín, 1989). Pine forests are also present at the TNP but were not sampled in this study. The Pico Real del Turquino and its vicinity are covered by a thicket formation that is known by several names but referred to here as elfin thicket, following Borhidi (1996).

Methods
The TNP was visited in February, June, September, and November 2011. Butterflies were inventoried and counted along two vegetation paths on the TNP northern slope. One is 13 km long. It runs from Alto del Naranjo, 900 m, to Aguada de Joaquín Station, 1,250 m, ending at Pico Real del Turquino, 1,974 m. The other path, 16 km long, starts at 250 m at the Santo Domingo town, goes to El Cojo Station, 1,200 m, and also ends at the top of Pico Real del Turquino.

During each visit, transects were placed at random to take samples, completing three sampling times at each vegetation type by the end of the study. Sampling covered at least 20 to 30% of the length of pathway where there was vegetation. The total number of transects at each vegetation type was 24 for disturbed vegetation, 36 for evergreen forest, 36 for rainforest, 24 for cloud forest, and 14 for elfin thicket. The minimum distance between two transects was 50 m.

Each transect was 100 m long and 4 m to each side of the observer. All butterfly species and individuals flying up to 5 m high were counted. In addition, any data on natural history (oviposition plant, nectar sources, and larval food plant) was recorded. Specimens requiring closer examination were netted and released at the same site after identification. Counts were made between 9:00 and 15:00 h, always on sunny days.

All the species detected are reported in the species list and in the annex 1, where they have been classified as dominant, intermediate, or rare based on their position at the rank abundance curves for each habitat type. Species observed only outside transects were considered as rare.

Records of additional species were obtained by reviewing the entomological collection of the Institute of Ecology and Systematics (CZACC).

Results

Species inventory
To date, 83 butterfly species have been recorded from the TNP, including 29 species and subspecies endemic to Cuba, representing five families (table 1, species list and annex 1). Nymphalidae is the family with the highest number of species (29), followed by Hesperiidae (26), Pieridae (17), Papilionidae (8), and Lycaenidae (3). During the field work, 71 species were recorded, 27 being endemic to Cuba. The other 12 species are only known from literature records or from the CZACC collection.

Butterfly communities
57 species (18 Cuban endemics) were recorded from the transect counts (table 2), while an additional 14 species were recorded outside the transects. Lowland to mid-altitude areas covered by disturbed vegetation were the most diverse, with 48 species, of which 16 were endemic (four species and 12 subspecies). Butterfly abundance was also higher than at the other vegetation types, and was evenly distributed among species (fig. 1). This community is dominated by Calisto herophile herophile, Nymphalidae, and Phoebis sennae sennae, Pieridae.

Nuñez_f1_Rank–abundance_curves_of_the_butterfly_species_present_at_zones_of_disturbed_vegetation_in_the_Turquino_NP

Fig. 1. Rank–abundance curves of the butterfly species present at zones of disturbed vegetation in the Turquino National Park. (For the abbreviations of species, see the annex 1.) Fig. 1. Curva de rango–abundancia de las especies de mariposas presentes en zonas de vegetación alterada del Parque Nacional Turquino. (Para las abreviaturas de las especies, ver el anexo 1.)

At higher altitudes with better preserved habitats, species richness was lower but the proportion of endemic butterflies was higher (table 2). All communities at natural habitats except the evergreen forest are evidently dominated by Calisto smintheus, the only butterfly endemic to the Sierra Maestra Mountain range, followed by Anetia briarea numidia and Anetia cubana, two other Nymphalids endemic to Cuba (fig. 2). The community in the evergreen forest was the richest of all natural habitats and had a more evenly distributed abundance. It was also dominated by C. smintheus, but to a lesser extent than in other habitat types (fig. 2).

Nuñez_f2_Rank–abundancecurves_for_the_butterfly_species_present_in_zones_at_Turquino_NP

Fig. 2. Rank–abundance curves for the butterfly species present in zones of evergreen forest, rainforest, cloud forest, and elfin thicket at the Turquino National Park. (For the abbreviations of species, see the annex 1.)
Fig. 2. Curvas de rango-abundancia de las especies de mariposas presentes en zonas de bosque perennifolio, selva pluvial, bosque nuboso y bosque enano del Parque Nacional Turquino. (Para las abreviaturas de las especies, ver el anexo 1.)

An analysis by family indicated that all communities were dominated by the Nymphalidae (table 3). Only in disturbed habitats, the Hesperiidae had a similar number of species, although their abundance and number of endemisms was almost half that of Nymphalidae. Moreover, this was the only habitat where all the families were present. Habitats at higher elevations were characterized by a stronger dominance by the Nymphalidae, which represented more than two thirds of the communities´ abundance and number of endemisms (table 3).

Natural history data
A total of 27 plant species were recorded as nectar sources for 30 butterfly species (see species list and annex 1). The plant species most visited were Lantana camara (11 butterfly species), and Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (9 butterfly species). Nectar sources for the endemic species Greta cubana, Anetia cubana, and Anetia briarea numidia are provided here for the first time.

Oviposition was recorded for seven butterflies, all endemic except Heraclides androgeus epidaurus (see species list and annex 1). For Dismorphia cubana, A. briarea numidia, and A. cubana these are the first records of host plants, and for Doxocopa laure druryi and G. cubana new host plants are recorded.

Larvae of H. thoas oviedo and of Danaus plexippus plexippus were found on Piper auritum and Asclepias curassavica, respectively.

List of butterflies species inhabiting the Turquino National Park
Brief comments on habitats where species were recorded, their abundance, nectar sources and/or host plants used are mentioned when appropriate. Literature and collection records are also added. Abbreviations: * Endemism; DV. Disturbed vegetation; EF. Evergreen forest; RF. Rainforest; CF. Cloud forest; ET. Elfin thicket. When possible and following the descriptions of Schwartz & Hedges (1991), habitats are also mentioned for the species they recorded.

Family Papilionidae
Battus devilliers (Godart). Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Lantana camara, Zinnia elegans.
*Battus polydamas cubensis Dufrane. Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: intermediate. Flowers visited: Lantana camara.
Heraclides andraemon andraemon Hübner. Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Lantana camara. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Heraclides androgeus epidaurus (Godart). Habitat: DV, EF, RF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Verbena rigida. Oviposition observed on Citrus sinensis.
*Heraclides aristodemus temenes (Godart). Habitat: EF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Lantana camara.
*Heraclides pelaus atkinsi Bates. Habitat: EF, RF, CF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Lantana camara, Tournefortia cf. bicolor, Verbena rigida. Old specimens present at CZACC.
*Heraclides thoas oviedo Gundlach. Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: intermediate. Flowers visited: Asclepias curassavica, Lantana camara. Larvae observed feeding on Piper auritum.
*Parides gundlachianus gundlachianus Felder & Felder. Habitat: DV, EF, RF, CF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Abarema maestrense, Lantana camara, Verbena rigida. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).

Family Hesperiidae
Aguna asander haitiensis (Mabille & Bouillet). Recorded only from old specimens present at CZACC.
*Astraptes cassander (Fabricius). Habitat: DV, EF, RF. Abundance: rare. Old specimens present at CZACC.
*Astraptes habana habana (Lucas). Habitat: DV, EF, RF, CF. Abundance: intermediate. Flowers visited: Abarema maestrense, Citrus aurantium, Coffea arabiga, Lobelia assurgens, Penta coccinea, Stachytarpheta cayennensis, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis.
Astraptates xagua xagua
(Lucas). Recorded only from old specimens present at CZACC.
Atalopedes mesogramma mesogramma (Latreille). Habitat: EF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Stachytarpheta cayennensis.
Cabares portrillo potrillo (Lucas). Habitat: DV. Recorded only by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Calpodes ethlius (Stoll). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
Choranthus radians (Lucas). Habitat: DV. Recorded only by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Cymaenes tripunctus (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Eantis papinianus (Poey). Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Abarema maestrense.
Ephyriades brunnea brunnea (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: rare.
Erynnis zarucco (Lucas). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Gesta gesta gesta (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: DV. Recorded only by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Hylephila phylaeus phylaeus (Drury). Habitat: DV, ET. Flowers visited: Borreria laevis, Stachytarpheta cayennensis. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Panoquina lucas lucas (Fabricius). Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: rare.
*Panoquina corrupta (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: EF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Abarema maestrense.
Parachoranthus magdalia (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Perichares philetes philetes (Gmelin). Habitat: DV, EF, RF. Abundance: rare.
Polites baracoa baracoa (Lucas). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
*Proteides mercurius sanantonio (Lucas). Habitat: CF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Chimarrhis cymosa.
Pyrgus oileus (Linnaeus). Habitat: DV. Abundance: intermediate. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
*Saliana esperi soroa Smith & Hernández. Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
Synapte malitiosa malitiosa (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: DV, EF, RF. Abundance: intermediate (DV) to rare (remaining vegetation types). Flowers visited: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Urbanus dorantes santiago (Lucas). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Lantana camara.
Urbanus proteus domingo (Scudder). Habitat: DV, CF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Lantana camara, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Wallengrenia otho misera (Lucas). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).

Family Pieridae
Abaeis nicippe (Cramer). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Anteos clorinde (Godart). Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Ixora coccinea.
Anteos maerula (Fabricius). Habitat: EF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Lantana camara.
Ascia monuste eubotea (Godart). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
*Dismorphia cubana (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: EF, RF. Abundance: rare. Oviposition observed on Abarema maestrense. Old specimens present at CZACC.
Eurema boisduvaliana (Felder & Felder). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
Eurema daira palmira (Poey). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
Eurema elathea elathea (Cramer). Habitat: DV. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Glutophrissa drusilla poeyi (Butler). Habitat: DV, RF. Abundance: intermediate. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
*Melete salacia cubana Fruhstorfer. Habitat: RF. Abundance: rare.
*Phoebis avellaneda (Herrich–Schäffer). Habitat: DV. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Phoebis p. philea (Johansson). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Ixora coccinea.
Phoebis s. sennae (Linnaeus). Habitat: DV. Abundance: dominant. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
*Pyrisitia d. dina (Poey). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Pyrisitia lisa euterpe (Ménétriés). Habitat: DV, RF. Abundance: intermediate. Flowers visited: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Tephrosia cf. cinerea. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Pyrisitia messalina (Fabricius). Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Pyrisitia nise nise (Cramer). Habitat: DV. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).

Family Lycaenidae
Cyclargus ammon ammon (Lucas). Habitat: DV. Recorded only by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Hemiargus hanno filenus (Poey 1832). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991) as Cyclargus ceraunus philenus.
Leptotes cassius theonus (Lucas 1857). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).

Family Nymphalidae
*Adelpha iphicleola iphimedia Fruhstorfer. Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
Agraulis vanillae insularis Maynard. Habitat: DV, RF. Abundance: intermediate. Flowers visited: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
*Anartia chrysopelea Hübner. Habitat: DV. Abundance: intermediate. Flowers visited: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis.
Anartia jatrophae guantanamo Munroe. Habitat: DV. Abundance: intermediate.
*Anetia briarea numidia Hübner. Habitat: EF, RF, CF, ET. Abundance: intermediate. Flowers visited: Citrus aurantium, Coffea arabiga, Lobelia assurgens, Abarema maestrense, Stachytarpheta cayennensis, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Viburnum villosum. Oviposition observed on unidentified Apocynaceae vine. Old specimens present at CZACC.
*Anetia cubana (Salvin). Habitat: EF, RF, CF, ET. Abundance: intermediate. Asclepias nivea, Catharanthus roseus, Eupatorium sp., Palicourea alpina, Varronia longipedunculata, Viburnum villosum. Oviposition observed on unidentified Apocynaceae vine. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991). Old specimens present at CZACC.
Anthanassa frisia frisia (Poey). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
*Antillea pelops anacaona (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: EF. Abundance: rare. Flowers visited: Stachytarpheta cayennensis, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis.
*Archaeoprepona demophoon crassina (Fruhstorfer). Habitat: DV, EF. Abundance: rare.
*Calisto herophile herophile Hübner. Habitat: DV. Abundance: dominant. Flowers visited: Stachytarpheta cayennensis. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991). Old specimens present at CZACC.
*Calisto smintheus Bates. Habitat: EF, RF, CF, ET. Abundance: dominant. Flowers visited: Borreria laevis, Palicourea alpina, Pavonia fruticosa, Chimarrhis cymosa, Dendropanax arboreus, Mikania micrantha, Rubus turquinensis, Stachytarpheta cayennensis, and Stachytarpheta jamaicensis. Oviposition observed on Arthrostylidium multispicatum, here the host plant is rectified. The identification made by Núñez et al. (2012), Ichnanthus mayarensis, was erroneous. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991) as Calisto delos. Old specimens present at CZACC.
Colobura dirce wolcotti (Comstock). Habitat: DV, ER. Abundance: rare.
Danaus gilippus berenice (Cramer). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
Danaus plexippus plexippus (Linnaeus). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Larvae observed feeding on Asclepias curassavica.
*Doxocopa laure druryi (Hübner). Habitat: DV, ER. Abundance: rare. Oviposition observed on Dendropanax arboreus.
*Dryas iulia nudeola (Bates). Habitat: DV, EF, RF, CF. Abundance: intermediate (DV) to rare (remaining habitats). Flowers visited: Lantana camara, Zinnia elegans. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Eunica tatila tatilista Kaye. Recorded only from old specimens present at CZACC.
*Greta cubana (Herrich-Schäffer). Habitat: EF, RF, CF, ET. Abundance: intermediate (RF) to rare (EF, CF). Flowers visited: Chimarrhis cymosa. Oviposition observed on Cestrum turquinense. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Heliconius charithonia ramsdeni Comstock & Brown. Habitat: DV, CF. Abundance: intermediate (DV). Flowers visited: Jatropha gossypifolia. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
Hypanartia paullus (Fabricius). Habitat: EF. Abundance: rare.
*Hypna clytemnestra iphigenia (Herrich-Schäffer). Recorded only from old specimens present at CZACC.
Junonia evarete zonalis Felder & Felder. Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
*Lucinia sida sida Hübner. Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
*Lycorea halia demeter Felder & Felder. Habitat: RF, CF. Abundance: rare. Old specimens present at CZACC.
Marpesia chiron (Fabricius). Habitat: DV, RF. Abundance: intermediate (DV) to rare (RF). Recorded by Schwartz & Hedges (1991).
*Marpesia e. eleuchea (Hübner). Habitat: DV, EF, CF. Abundance: rare. Phyciodes phaon phaon (Edwards). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
Siderone galanthis nemesis (Illiger). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare. Adults observed feeding on rotten fruit of Citrus aurantium.
Siproeta stelenes biplagiata (Fruhstorfer). Habitat: DV. Abundance: rare.
Vanessa virginiensis (Drury). Recorded only from old specimens present at CZACC.

Discussion

The list of butterfly species from the TNP represents 43% of all members of this group in Cuba. The same percentage applies to the species endemic to Cuba, when both species (nine) and subspecies (20) are considered. The only family lacking is Riodinidae, with a single Caribbean species restricted, both ecologically and geographically, to the north keys of central Cuba, the extreme southeastern coast, and northeastern mountains (Alayo & Hernández, 1987; Hernández et al., 1998; Rivero et al., 2003). Compared to the only previous study, performed by Schwartz & Hedges (1991), we observed an additional 34 species during field work, including 20 endemic species. We did not detect four other species that were reported by Schwartz and Hedges. Differences in species richness and composition might be explained by environmental dissimilarities (humidity, habitats, and conservation status) between the northern slope, where present work was conducted, and the southern slope where Schwartz & Hedges (1991) worked. In addition, sampling effort was greater in this study than in the six working days in the previous study.

The species richness per family is comparable to that of the entire Cuban butterfly fauna (Alayo & Hernández, 1987; Smith et al., 1994). Schawrtz & Hedges (1991) found a similar family proportion but observed more Pieridae species, probably because they spent more time collecting in open, disturbed areas.

Habitat disturbance increased species richness by diminishing endemism and adding generalist widespread species. Sixteen of the 17 butterflies listed by Fontenla (1992) as members of the Cuban butterfly generalist group were present at disturbed areas of the TNP. This author also found that Cuban Nymphalidae, including many endemic species, were better represented in the mountain forests, as occurred in the TNP, where this family attained the highest diversity in the rainforest, the cloud forest, and the elfin thicket.

Low to moderate levels of disturbance can even increase butterfly diversity by offering additional resources to some endemic species, such as nectar sources close to evergreen forest (as recorded in La Platica village). Fontenla (1987a, 1987b, 1992) and Núñez & Barro (2003) found that edges of several Cuban vegetation types have higher values of butterfly diversity than pure habitats. However, severe disturbances (e.g. forest degradation to grassland by fires), caused impoverishment of the butterfly communities. At TNP, Loma del León suffered this kind of change and during the present study only two generalist non-endemic species, Agraulis vanillae and Leptotes cassius, were found there.

Results from this study show that the TNP has a diverse butterfly fauna that needs to be preserved. More studies should be conducted in this area to increase the inventory of its species and to add more data to the presently known natural history. Information gathered during the present work will help to improve park management and to develop existing ecotourism.

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to all the workers and park authorities at the Turquino National Park, especially to Pedro López del Castillo and his family, for their support during work in the park. I also want to thank Tomas Melichar, Ormaily Madruga, Sergio Gutiérrez, Dania Saladrigas, Ariel Rodríguez, Alejandro Barro, and Ledis Regalado for their companionship and support during the field work, including some observations. My thanks also to Ramona Oviedo and Iralys Ventosa for their help with plant identification. This work was funded by the Rufford Small Grant #8909-1. Finally, I want to acknowledge the work of the editor and an anonymous reviewer.

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