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Revista mexicana de biodiversidad

versão On-line ISSN 2007-8706versão impressa ISSN 1870-3453


GALICIA-MENDOZA, Ivette et al. Biology of the oldest butterfly species in the world, Baronia brevicornis: food, abundance, polymorphism, and survival. Rev. Mex. Biodiv. [online]. 2021, vol.92, e923503.  Epub 07-Mar-2022. ISSN 2007-8706.

The study of the basic biology of panchronic species could help understand their persistence through geological time. One of the least studied panchronic species is Baronia brevicornis Salvin (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae), the oldest known butterfly species endemic to Mexico. Here we report on our findings from studying a population of B. brevicornis in Sierra de Huautla, Morelos, for 3 years. In this population we identified 3 male and 3 female color morphs, making it perhaps the most complex polymorphism described yet for a panchronic species. We found a balanced sex ratio in newly emerged adults but a sex ratio biased to males at reproductive sites. Significantly, we found adults of the butterfly only on patches of the host plant Vachellia campechiana (Mill.) Seigler & Ebinger (Fabaceae) that also offered feeding sources for adults and report for the first-time adults feeding on 5 plant species. Additionally, differences in water use in trees of V. campechiana in zones with or without B. brevicornis suggest a relationship between butterfly food sources and plant water expenditure. Our findings on B. brevicornis could be used to develop conservation plans for this species.

Palavras-chave : Panchronic species; Lepidoptera; Papilionidae; Baroniinae; Threatened species; Conservation.

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