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Title: Diversity, ecology and herbivory of hairstreak butterflies (Theclinae) associated with the velvet tree, Miconia calvescens in Costa Rica.

Author: Badenes-Pérez, F.R.; Alfaro-Alpízar, M.A.; Johnson, M.T.;

Date: 2010

Source: Journal of Insect Science. 10: 1-9

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Larvae of three species of hairstreak butterflies in the subfamily Theclinae (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) were found feeding on developing inflorescences, flower buds, and immature fruits of the velvet tree, (Miconia calvescens) de Candolle (Myrtales: Melastomataceae) in Costa Rica. (Erora opisena) (Druce), (Parrhasius polibetes) (Cramer), and (Temecla paron0 (Godman and Salvin) were studied in association with (M. calvescens), an uncommon tree in its natural range in the neotropics and a target for biocontrol as an invader in Pacific islands. Host plant use by the three theclines was similar, with eggs being laid on inflorescences and cryptic larvae remaining throughout development. Feeding damage by (E. opisena) was most abundant in pre-flowering (M. calvescens), when 23% of inflorescences showed feeding damage characteristic of this species. Feeding damage by (T. paron) peaked at flowering, when 30% of inflorescences were affected. At field sites, (E. opisena) and (T. paron) damaged an average of 26 and 18% of each attacked inflorescence, respectively. In cage experiments, individual third- and fourth-instar larvae of (E. opisena) damaged an average of 24 and 21% of an inflorescence before pupating, respectively. This study provides the first host plant record for (E. opisena) and (T. paron), the first record of P. polibetes feeding on Melastomataceae, and the first records of (E. opisena) and T(T. paron) presence in Costa Rica.

Keywords: biodiversity, butterflies, Erora opisena, hairstreak, inflorescence, Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae, Parrhasius polibetes, Temecla paron, Theclinae

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Badenes-Pérez, F.R.; Alfaro-Alpízar, M.A.; Johnson, M.T. 2010. Diversity, ecology and herbivory of hairstreak butterflies (Theclinae) associated with the velvet tree, Miconia calvescens in Costa Rica. Journal of Insect Science. 10: 1-9.

 


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