Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (7): 950-959.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020486

Special Issue: 昆虫多样性与生态功能

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diversity of butterfly communities in Gaoligong region of Yunnan

Lang Yi1,2, Yakun Dong2, Baige Miao2*(), Yanqiong Peng2*()   

  1. 1 College of Ecology and Environmental Science, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091
    2 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
  • Received:2020-12-30 Accepted:2021-04-02 Online:2021-07-20 Published:2021-04-22
  • Contact: * E-mail:;


Aims: Gaoligong is located in northwest Yunnan, a mountainous biodiversity hotspot in Southwest China. In this region, insect diversity has not been systematically investigated or summarized.
Methods: We focused on investigating butterfly diversity using a 1-km transect method at different altitudes, habitats and seasons in Gaoligong region.
Results: A total of 2,055 butterflies were recorded, belonging to 5 families, 85 genera, and 151 species. Of these, 27 species were recorded for the first time, increasing the total number of recorded butterfly species in Gaoligong to 488 species. Among the five families, the Nymphalidae had the highest species diversity, followed by Lycaenidae, while Hesperiidae had the lowest. The species diversity of butterflies showed the greatest abundance and highest richness at the 1,000-2,000 m altitude. At low elevations species were concentrated, and there was little overlap of species with those at higher elevations. The species and individuals of butterflies in different habitats were also different, the diversity was higher in the nature reserve, followed by the ecotone, and was lowest in the farm area. Additionally, diversity and abundance varied seasonally, with the lowest abundance observed in spring and the lowest diversity in summer, both diversity and abundance were the highest in autumns of two years, but exhibited intra-seasonal variation. Overall, the community composition of butterflies had distinct characteristics at different altitudes, habitats and seasons, only a few species were shared between communities and the community similarity of butterflies was found to be low. The butterflies were comprehensively evaluated in Gaoligong region, including 17 vulnerable species, 50 near-threatened species, and 3 species that were listed as second class protection animals in China.
Conclusion: This study systematically identified the species of butterflies in Gaoligong region, and obtained the diversity pattern of butterfly communities within different altitudes, habitats and seasons. The results will provide the scientific basis for strengthening regional species monitoring and biodiversity conservation.

Key words: Gaoligong region, butterfly, species diversity, community structure, altitude, habitat, season