Butterfly Diversity on a Southeast Florida Military Base Located within an Urban Matrix

Sandy Koi (Conservation Associate, Entomology, Institute for Regional Conservation, 100 E. Linton Blvd., Suite 302B, Delray Beach, Florida, 33483, USA)
Craig van der Heiden (5800 S.W. 188 Avenue, Southwest Ranches, FL, 33332, USA)


South Florida is a renowned ‘hotspot’ for rare and endemic taxa, with insects and plants found in few other ecosystems. Specialized species evolved in Florida’s stochastic climate, adapting to seasonal drought and flooding, hurricanes and high-wind tropical storms. As human population growth and development increased, and natural ecosystems disappeared, or became increasingly degraded, at-risk taxa now face additional threats, such as urban pesticide use and fragmented remnant habitats. The ability of species to adapt to these changing ecological factors is one of the dynamics that either impacts their fitness to greater survival or drives extirpation or extinction. Butterflies are native indicator species that can be used to document environmental conditions affecting many other taxa. Butterfly surveys were conducted over 16 months on an active military air reserve base located within a mosaic of densely populated urban, commercial, industrial, residential, and agricultural matrices in Homestead, southeast Florida. Butterfly species richness, abundance and diversity were documented, providing valuable base-line data for on-going butterfly monitoring, and the importance of this site’s relatively healthy remnant ecosystems was evidenced by the supporting host plants for 20 migratory butterflies in 40 species. In addition, the air reserve base acts as refugia for many rare, endangered, and threatened federal and state-listed plants as well. 


Air Force; Butterflies; Habitat alteration; Invertebrates; Agriculture

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30564/jzr.v2i3.2063


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