Assemblage structure of fruitfeeding nymphalids (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae) in floodplain and upland forest at Cocha Cashu, Peru
MetadataShow full item record
- Master's theses (INA) 
The Amazon is widely recognised as the most biodiverse area in the world. Within the Amazon, large tracts of forest are flooded each year, resulting in two dominant forest types – terra firme, unflooded forest and várzea, flooded forest. Because of the inundation, terra firme and várzea differ in species composition, and várzea has a more open understorey and canopy. In this study, I compared fruit-feeding nymphalid species assemblages in terra firme and várzea forest in the Peruvian Amazon using fruit-baited traps placed in the understorey, midstorey and canopy. Total species richness was similar in both forest types, but more species were caught per trapping location in terra firme. There was a high species turnover between the two forest types; only 48 % of the species were shared between várzea and terra firme and an ANOSIM confirmed that species assemblages were significantly different. The butterfly community in terra firme contained more species adapted to the understorey than várzea and the understorey species assemblage was significantly different from both the midstorey and canopy assemblages in terra firme. All strata contained different species assemblages in várzea. This study is the first to examine differences in butterfly assemblage structure between these two dominant Amazonian forest types, and underlines that várzea forests plays a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity in the Amazon.