Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (12): 23305.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023305

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Interannual stability in butterfly diversity and the larvae-plant interaction network structure at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden

Wang Chaoya1,2(), Li Jintao1,3(), Liu Chang1, Wang Bo1(), Miao Baige1,*()(), Peng Yanqiong1,*()()   

  1. 1 CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 School of Ecology and Environmental Science, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091
  • Received:2023-08-30 Accepted:2023-12-06 Online:2023-12-20 Published:2023-12-28
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Aims: Butterflies hold global significance as biological resources that are sensitive to environmental changes, making them an important indicator species for monitoring biodiversity and reflecting environmental changes. This study aims to investigate the interannual variability of butterfly communities and the interaction of the larvae-plant relationship at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), elucidating the change patterns in community structure and diversity.

Methods: Three distinct habitats were selected, and butterfly diversity was investigated alongside 2 km transects sampling over a period of six years. Moreover, butterfly larvae and their feeding on plants were identified and recorded.

Results: A total of 15,826 butterflies belonging to 5 families, 146 genera, and 251 species were recorded on three transect lines at XTBG. The Nymphalidae exhibited the highest numbers of 56 genera and 112 species, while the Papilionidae had the lowest with 8 genera and 21 species. The Nymphalidae also showed the highest Shannon and Simpson diversities, while those of Pieridae were the lowest but exhibited the highest species dominance. The community included a total of 20 dominant species, 100 rare species and 131 common species. In the adult stage, the dynamic occurrence of butterfly species and individual abundance peaks occurred during the rainy season, with no significant interannual climatic impact on species diversity of the butterfly community. Both species composition and abundance showed no significant variation among the years, with interannual beta diversity demonstrating stable species overlap. Furthermore, butterfly larvae often feed on species-specific plants, forming feeding networks with native plants that display higher weighted nestedness and robustness compared to the networks formed with non-native plants, suggesting that the larvae-native plant network is more stable.

Conclusion: This research sheds light on the interannual variation pattern of butterfly community structure and diversity at XTBG. Our results showed that the butterfly communities exhibited interannual stability. The larvae-plant networks were constructed to exhibit the high specialization and had different structural traits between larvae-native and larvae-non-native plants. The results of this study provides scientific basis for the protection of butterfly diversity and supports the need for further research on the butterfly and plant interactions.

Key words: butterfly, community composition, diversity, interannual variability, larvae-plant interaction network