Biodiversity Data Journal : Research Article
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Research Article
Behavioural notes and attraction on Lepidoptera around the Gehry's Biodiversity Museum (Causeway, Calzada de Amador, Panamá, República de Panamá)
expand article info Patricia Esther Corro-Chang
‡ Predoctoral Student, Universidad de Panama, Programa Centroamericano de Entomologia, Panama, Panama
Open Access

Abstract

This work represents a study of the diversity of Lepidoptera on the Gehry's Biodiversity Museum (MBG), in an attempt to generate a list of the diversity of butterflies and moths visiting the coastal ecosystem of the Causeway, Amador. Collection of insects was performed manually, over a period of ten months (June 16, 2014 to March 18, 2015) and photographic records of the behavior of other species preying on Lepidoptera were also included. A total of 326 specimens, representing 13 families were collected. These included 6 butterfly and 8 moth families and 52 genera, and 60 species. This study represents a contribution to the knowledge of species that frequent the area, and encourages the conservation and development of the Calzada de Amador as an important touristic site in the city of Panama.

Keywords

Richness of species, abundance, butterflies, moths, Causeway.

Introduction

Monterrubio et al. (2013) suggest ecotourism as a mechanism for environmental conservation, economical growth, and improvement of local livelihoods. The improvement of a botanical garden in Frank Gehry's new attraction, the Biodiversity Museum, promises a new source for environmental conservation of the nearby areas and as a butterfly house near the city of Panamá. The new building painted with bright colors represents the ethnical groups in Panamá, is a tribute to the wealth of fauna and flora within Panamá, and is a message to the world about how the Panamanian isthmus changed the world forever. Behind the museum there is more to discover and on the walls of this building, each day, thousand of species are interacting, resting and completing their lives histories. With this contribution we would like to: a.) study the diversity of Lepidoptera on the MBG, b.) generate a preliminary species checklist and c.) report notes of behavior including interactions between Lepidoptera and new habitats made by human intervention; particularly detaching the role of bright colors, and the addition of a botanical garden in the nearby areas, as possible attractants for the insects.

Materials and Methods

Study Area

This study was carried out in the botanical garden and near-by areas of the Gehry's Biodiversity Museum MBG (8°55'55.5"N, 79°32'41.7"W), Causeway, Calzada de Amador, Panamá Province, República de Panamá. The botanical garden covers 3 hectares of land, five different stations that recover the ethno botanical impact of plants through natural medicine, production and agriculture by the traditional use of different grasses in the erosion control of the soils. The Causeway is compound of four small islands by the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal which are joined by a road (the Causeway), linked by rocks extracted from the Corte Culebra during the construction of the Panama Canal in 1913. The study area is characterized as coastal, interfered aquatic habitat with patches of forest. Most of them, modified by the human activity and constructions. The annual mean temperature is 28°C, with an annual precipitation of 1642 mm and it is located at sea level.

Sampling and Preservation

Specimens were collected with entomological nets, killed by a soft pressure over the thorax, and stored in wax paper envelopes. All the biological material collected was stored at 0°C, in hermetic plastic boxes until it was processed in lab facilities at Programa Centroamericano de Maestría en Entomología (PCMENT), Universidad de Panamá. Each envelope contained the collection data label, including the names of the collectors and the dates. Observation and collection were done daily, and continuously during June of 2014 and March of 2005; between 08:00 to 13:00 hours near to the main entrance of the museum in a 50 m long transect that includes bushes and shrubs that attract butterflies, including Lantana camara, during sunny days without heavy rains or strong winds. Specimens were set with #1 and #2 entomological pins. Processing and spreading techniques for Lepidoptera samples were done following Triplehorn and Johnson (2005).

Identification

Determinations were made by comparisons with the material previously deposited at the Programa Centroamericano de Maestría en Entomología (Universidad de Panamá) already identified by specialists, and by review of DeVries (1987). We consulted Lamas (2004), Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera for updates on taxonomy and names of Papilionoidea and Hesperiioidea; Heppner (1995), Heppner (1996) for updates of Pyraloidea and Sphingoidea; Gardwood and Leeman (2011), Gardwood and Leeman (2013), Garwood and Leeman (2012) for recognition of the species during their flight; and Korytkowski (2013) for taxonomical keys to the moth groups. We also reviewed the classic literature to comprehend the descriptions of Panamanian moths collected during the Biological Survey (1910-1912) along the Panama Canal Area (Busck 1914, Dyar 1914). Part of the material collected during the research is deposited at the PCMENT entomology collection and in the private collection of the author.

Results and Discussion

A total of 326 specimens, representing 13 families (6 butterfly and 8 moth families) distributed in 52 genera and 60 species were collected at the MBG (Table 1). The highest proportion of the abundance was found in Nymphalidae (32%, Fig. 4) and Hesperiidae (20%, Fig. 5) representing diurnally active Lepidoptera (Fig. 1); Papilionidae (5%) represented by 3 species (Fig. 2) and Pieridae (7%) with 4 species (Fig. 3). Moths were most abundant in the families Uraniidae (8%), Erebidae (Fig. 9) and Crambidae (Fig. 6), each one of them represented by a 5% of the total (Fig. 1). Richness in this work was represented by the families Nymphalidae and Hesperiidae with a total of 15 and 14 species, respectively. Meanwhile, moth richness was highly represented by 5 species corresponding to the family Erebidae (Fig. 1, Fig. 9).

Checklist of Lepidoptera species around the Gehry's Biodiversity Museum

Family

Subfamily

Tribe

Species

Common name

(English)*

Acrolophidae

Acrolophus panamae Busck, 1914

Panama Grass

Tube-worm Moth

Crambidae

Pyraustinae

Herpetogramma phaeopteralis (Guenée, 1854)

Sod Webworm Moth

Crambidae

Pyraustinae

Spilomelini

Palpita flegia (Cramer, 1777)

Crambidae

Pyraustinae

Spilomelini

Samea ecclesialis Guenée, 1854

Erebidae

Arctiinae

Calonotos metallicus Druce, 1884

Erebidae

Arctiinae

Arctiini

Halysidota sp.

Erebidae

Arctiinae

Arctiini

Horama plumipes (Drury, 1773)

Wasp moth

Erebidae

Arctiinae

Arctiini

Munona iridescens Schaus, 1894

Erebidae

Spilosoma congrua (Walker, 1855)

Agreeable Tiger

Moth

Erebidae

Uranophora leucotelus (Butler, 1876)

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Anthoptini

Anthoptus epictetus (Fabricius, 1793)

Trailside Skipper

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Eudamini

Astraptes fulgerator (Walch, 1775)

Two-barred Flasher

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Eudamini

Astraptes talus (Cramer, 1777)

Green Flasher

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Pyrgini

Bolla cupreiceps (Mabille, 1891)

Copper-headed

Sootywing

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Calpodini

Carystoides lebbaeus (Hewitson, 1876)

Lebbaeus Rubyeye

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Pyrgini

Nisoniades panama Evans, 1953

Panamanian Tufted-

Skipper

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Moncini

Parphorus nr. oeagrus (Godman, 1900)

Tawny-washed

Skipper

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Pyrgini

Pellicia arina Evans, 1953

Glazed Tufted-

Skipper

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Eudamini

Phanus marshalli (W.F. Kirby, 1880)

Common Ghost

Skipper

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Achlyodini

Quadrus cerialis (Stoll, 1782)

Common Blue-

Skipper

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

Calpodini

Saliana esperi Evans, 1955

Saliana

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Pyrgini

Staphylus ascalaphus (Staudinger, 1876)

Central American

Sootywing

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Eudamini

Urbanus dorantes (Stoll, 1790)

Dorantes Longtail

Hesperiidae

Pyrginae

Eudamini

Urbanus procne (Plötz, 1880)

Brown Longtail

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Eumaeini

Calycopis drusilla Field, 1967

Drusilla

Groundstreak

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

Eumaeini

Magnastigma hirsuta (Prittwitz, 1865)

Hirsuta Hairstreak

Megalopygidae

Megalopyginae

Megalopyge lanata (Stoll, 1780)

Mangrove Flannel

Moth

Noctuidae

Catocalinae

Anticarsia gemmatalis (Hübner, 1818)

Velvetbean

Caterpillar Moth

Noctuidae

Catocalinae

Ascalapha odorata Linnaeus, 1758

Black Witch

Erebidae

Letis sp.

Marbled Witch

Noctuidae

Plusiinae

Noctuid sp. 1

Erebidae

Catocalinae

Noctuid sp. 2

Noctuidae

Amphipyrinae

Spodoptera sp.

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Heliconiini

Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Passion butterfly

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Kallimini

Anartia fatima (Fabricius, 1793)

Banded Peacok

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Kallimini

Anartia jatrophae (Linnaeus, 1763)

White Peacok

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Phyciodini

Anthanassa frissia tulcis (H.W.Bates, 1864)

Pale-banded

Crescent

Nymphalidae

Brassolinae

Brassolini

Brassolis isthmia Bates, 1864

Small-spoted Owlet

Nymphalidae

Morphinae

Brassolini

Caligo atreus (Kollar, 1850)

Atreus/ Banded

Giant Owl

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Coeini

Colobura dirce (Linnaeus, 1758)

Dirce/Small Beauty

Nymphalidae

Danainae

Danaini

Danaus gillipus thersippus (H.W.Bates, 1863)

Queen

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Heliconiini

Dryadula phaetusa (Linnaeus, 1758)

Banded Orange

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Heliconiini

Dryas iulia (Fabricius, 1775)

Julia

Nymphalidae

Heliconiinae

Argynnini

Euptoieta hegesia (Cramer, 1779)

Mexican Fritillary

Nymphalidae

Biblidinae

Biblidini

Hamadryas laudamia (Cramer, 1777)

Starry Night

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Kallimini

Junonia evarete (Cramer, 1779)

Tropical Buckeye

Nymphalidae

Brassolinae

Brassolini

Opsiphanes cassina C. Felder & R. Felder, 1862

Split-banded Owlet

Nymphalidae

Nymphalinae

Kallimini

Siproeta stelenes (Linnaeus, 1758)

Malachite

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Troidini

Battus polydamas (Linnaeus, 1758)

Polydamas

Swallowtail

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Papilionini

Heraclides rumiko (Shiraiwa & Grishin, 2014)

Western-giant

Swallowtail

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

Troidini

Parides anchisiades farfan K.S. Brown, 1994

Anchisiades

Cattleheart

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Coliadini

Eurema arbela gratiosa (Doubleday, 1847)

Disjunct Yellow

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Coliadini

Eurema daira eugenia (Wallengren, 1860)

Barred Yellow/

Barred sulphur

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Coliadini

Phoebis argante (Fabricius, 1775)

Apricot Sulphur

Pieridae

Coliadinae

Coliadini

Phoebis sennae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Cloudless Sulphur

Riodinidae

Theclinae

Eumaeini

Eumaeus godartii (Boisduval, 1870)

White-tipped

Cycadian

Riodinidae

Riodininae

Riodinini

Melanis pixe sanguinea (Stichel, 1910)

Red-bordered Pixie

Sphingidae

Macroglossinae

Dilophonotini

Isognathus scyron (Cramer, 1780)

Sphingidae

Sphinginae

Sphingini

Manduca rustica rustica (Fabricius, 1775)

Rustic Sphinx

Uraniidae

Uraniinae

Urania fulgens (Walker, 1854)

Urania Swallowtail

Figure 1.  

Percent representation of the abundance per Lepidoptera family.

Figure 2.  

Papilionidae: A) Battus polydamas; B) Parides anchisiades; C) Heraclides rumiko.

Figure 3.  

Riodinidae: A) Melanis pixie; B) Eumaeus godartii Dv:dorsal; Vv:ventral. Pieridae: C) Eurema daira eugenia; D) Phoebis argante.

Figure 4.  

Nymphalidae. Nymphalinae: A) Anartia fatima; B) A. jatrophae; C) Anthanassa tulcis; D) Siproeta stelenes; E) Colobura dirce; F) Junonia evarete. Heliconiinae: G) Dryas iulia; H) Agraulis vanilla; I) Dryadula phaetusa. Morphinae: J) Caligo atreus; Danainae: K) Danaus gillipus.

Figure 5.  

Hesperiidae: A) Astraptes fulgerator; B) Anthoptus epictetus; C) Saliana esperi; D) Urbanus dorantes; E) U. procne; F) Quadrus cerialis; G) Phanus marshalli; H) Parphorus nr. oeagrus; I) Pellicia arina; J) Bolla sp.

Figure 6.  

Crambidae: A) Palpita flegia; B) Herpetogramma phaeopteralis; C) Samea ecclesialis.

Figure 7.  

A female of Pelegrina variegata Pickard-Cambridge F., 1901 predating Samea ecclesialis Guenée, 1854 perched on the walls of the Gehry's Biodiversity Museum.

Figure 8.  

Some birds hit the glass of the Gehry's temporary exhibition corner during their migratory season.

Figure 9.  

Erebidae: A) Uranophora leucotelus; B) Horama plumipes; C) Spilosoma congrua; D) Halysidota sp.; E) Munona iridescens.

The confection of the present checklist (Table 1) is a compilation of the species that inhabit the coastal ecosystem of Amador, day by day. The area is visited by tourists from all over the world that keep their sight in this attractive point of Panama. MBG has a strategic position, is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, and which shows the contrast between the city of Panama and a non intervened main land of Fort Kobbe and Veracruz, that still non-urbanized. The distance between Fort Kobbe (largely vegetated) and the Causeway shows that most of the species could be flying actively across the narrow strip of ocean and stopping at the MBG botanical garden exploiting food sources and new habitats provided by human intervention. In addition, the bright color of the building attracts the attention of many species of birds and butterflies (Suppl. materials 1, 2). Other researchers suggests that constructions such as buildings and wind power facilities could be involved in species mortality during their daily activity; they frequently retrieve carcasses of bats, birds and insects (Kerns and Kerlinger 2004; Piorkowski 2006; Long et al. 2010). Studies in Scandinavia demonstrate that the addition of bright color and different constructions, such as wind turbines, plays an important role on the fauna with impacts on their activities including their migratory patterns (Ahlén et al. 2007), if we compare the results from this study and the preliminary observations of our work it is possible to create relationships with the Gehry's museum situation. It is contributing to insect activities, is an attractant, and also is an artificial barrier during bird migratory season (Fig. 8). Studies on the impacts including effects of new architectural concepts still leave gaps in our knowledge (Long et al. 2010) and particularly in Panama; this is the first contribution in this topic.

Some notes related to behavior and interaction patterns were registered over the colored surfaces of the building (Suppl. materials 1, 2). Saliana esperii shows a particular preference for the yellowish surfaces of the building; many times, this species was observed visiting the walls and posing over it, extending its proboscis and constantly searching for nutritional sources on different portions of the wall surface. Walls of the MBG building also function as an arena for predators, developing complex nets of interactions (Fig. 7). Females of the species Pelegrina variegata Arachnida: Salticidae, are frequent all over the walls of the building, opportunistically catching various species of insects that lie on different portions of the wall. As of this work we have witnessed predation of the crambid moth Samea ecclesialis by P. variegata and its preference for this particular species of moth (Fig. 6, Fig. 7). The yellow walls of the building also serve as resting place for Urania fulgens during their migration across Panama in the months of March and June, each year (Smith 1983). But glass of the building also represents a risk to other species such as birds during their migration times, many species of bird hit the window glass (Fig. 8). Meanwhile, diurnal moths such as Horama plumipes, lie on the glass that connects to the Gehry's temporary exhibits, displaying their perfectly mimicry to wasps of the family Sphecidae (Fig. 9).

Conclusion

The coastal ecosystem of Amador has a rich Lepidoptera fauna, besides the strong human intervention in this area; species exploit the various sources that the MBG offers. The addition of colors, a botanical garden and shapes on this construction serve as attractants for day active species and variety of interactions. This work represents a preliminary contribution to our knowledge of the species of Lepidoptera active in the Calzada de Amador, and will answer many of the questions asked by visitors interested in the fauna of this important tourist point of Panamá, thus promoting its conservation.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to express her sincere appreciation to Programa Centroamericano de Maestría en Entomología, Universidad de Panamá (Panamá) for supporting with lab facilities and collections in order to do the determinations of the sampled material. Thanks are also extended to Annette Aiello, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panamá) for confirming the identification of some specimens and corrections on the manuscript; to the personnel at the MBG, Amador for their kind assistance in collecting specimens and facilities. Marina Leccese, Smithsonian Institution, Punta Culebra Facilities (Panamá), for sharing literature about Fort Amador history.

References

Supplementary materials

Suppl. material 1: Biodiversity museum before the opening, October of 2014. 
Authors:  Patricia Esther Corro Chang
Data type:  Image
Suppl. material 2: Lepidoptera attracted by colors of the Gehry's building 
Authors:  Patricia Esther Corro Chang
Data type:  Images