Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 July 2019 | 11(9): 14235–14237



Butterflies collected using malaise traps as useful bycatches for ecology and conservation


Augusto Henrique Batista Rosa 1, Lucas Neves Perillo 2, Frederico Siqueira Neves 3, Danilo Bandini Ribeiro 4 & André Victor Lucci Freitas 5


1,2,3 Departamento de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

4 Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, Brazil.

5 Departamento de Biologia Animal and Museu de Zoologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.

1 (corresponding author), 2, 3, 4, 5



doi:   |  ZooBank:


Editor: Anonymity requested.              Date of publication: 26 July 2019 (online & print)


Manuscript details: #4919 | Received 28 February 2019 | Finally accepted 05 July 2019


Citation: Rosa, A.H.B., L.N. Perillo, F.S. Neves, D.B. Ribeiro & A.V.L. Freitas (2019). Butterflies collected using malaise traps as useful bycatches for ecology and conservation. Journal of Threatened Taxa 11(9): 14235–14237.


Copyright: © Rosa et al. 2019. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.


Funding: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) - 303834/2015-3, 130314/2016-1; Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) – Finance Code 001; Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) - 2011/50225-3; Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG); National Science Foundation (NSF) - DEB-1256742.


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: We thank funding agencies for support this scientific study, the ICMBIO for the collecting permits (SISBIO 10438-1, 53016-10, 42055-2) and the IEF (UC 36/2015-16/214). Butterfly species are are registered in the SISGEN (A190A3E).



Sampling insects using flight interception traps (e.g., malaise traps) is very effective for taxonomic, population, and community studies (Matthews & Matthews 1971; Campbell & Hanula 2007; Perillo et al. 2017).  This method is generally focused on the collection of flying insect groups such as Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Coleoptera (Gressitt & Gressitt 1962; Brown 2005; Souza et al. 2015); however, other insect groups too are frequently sampled as bycatches and their information can be certainly used for several purposes.  From 2013 to 2016, a study on hymenopteran communities (bees and wasps of Aculeata) was carried out throughout the Espinhaço Mountain range (12 sample locations, 700–2,070 m) in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Bahia.  In total, 120 malaise traps were maintained in the field for 10 consecutive days during the rainy season from November to February.  A total of 1,000 butterflies belonging to six families, namely, Pieridae (n=353), Nymphalidae (n=274), Hesperiidae (n=205), Lycaenidae (n=139), Riodinidae (n=17), and Papilionidae (n=12), were captured during the study period.  As expected, because of the collecting method (many insects captured together in an ethanol-filled recipient), most butterflies became mangled and discoloured, making them hard to identify (Fig. 1; Schmidt 2016).  Nevertheless, three interesting species were reported among in the collected material as they were either threatened, endemic, or undescribed (all from Minas Gerais State) (Fig. 1).  These were: 1. Strymon ohausi (Spitz, 1933) (Lycaenidae; Image 1A (ZUEC-LEP 11044); 2. Yphthimoides cipoensis (Freitas, 2004) (Nymphalidae; Image 1B (ZUEC-LEP 11045) (both deposited at the Zoology Museum in Campinas University, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil); and 3. an undescribed species of Aricoris (Riodinidae; Image 1C (LAK-479, LAK-481 and LAK-482; in process of description, not yet formally deposited in a collection)).  The lycaenid S. ohausi is considered Endangered (EN) in the Brazilian Red List of threatened fauna; a single individual was collected in Botumirim State Park, Botumirim, representing a new occurrence record for the species.  For the nymphalid Y. cipoensis, an endemic species previously known from three localities in the Serra do Espinhaço (Freitas 2004), seven individuals were collected in five localities, which are all new occurrence records for the species.  An undescribed species of Aricoris (Riodinidae) (J.R. Lemes & L.A. Kaminski pers. comm. January, 2018),  identified primarily by DNA sequencing, was collected in two localities and will add important geographic information for its description.  The new records were important in expanding the distribution ranges of the former two species.  For S. ohausi, the extent of occurrence (EOO) and occupancy area (AOO) increased from 423,600km2 and 48km2 to 472,500km2 and 52km2, respectively.  For Y. cipoensis, the increase in both EOO and AOO were much larger, from 22km2 and 12km2 to 6,800km2 and 36km2, respectively.  This means that the assessment for Y. cipoensis under criterion B (geographic distribution) (IUCN 2012) changes from Critically Endangered (CR B1) to Endangered (EN B2), a more realistic conservation status.  These new records highlight the importance of storing and making available all collected material in large biological inventories, even when these are not the focal taxa of the study.  In the present case, although most butterflies in malaise traps got tattered and were difficult to identify, their data was important for providing relevant information for taxonomic, genetic, and conservation studies.


For figure & image – click here




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