Insect Communities

Two new butterflies from Mt. Cameroon

Recently, our description of two new butterfly species has been published in the Zootaxa journal. Both newly described butterflies were discovered during our projects at the middle elevations of Mt. Cameroon, neither of them are known to occur anywhere else in the world. Ceratrichia fako is a skipper flying in narrow forest gullies, Lepidochrysops liberti is a lyceanid occurring in the mosaic-like habitats of submontane forests. The paper is open-access, anybody can thus download it here.

Sáfián Sz., Tropek R. (2016) Two new butterfly species (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) from Mount Cameroon, Gulf of Guinea Highlands, Cameroon. Zootaxa 4150: 123-132.

Holotypes of Ceratrichia fako (Sáfián & Tropek, 2016) and Lepidochrysops liberti (Sáfián & Tropek, 2016).

Holotypes of Ceratrichia fako Sáfián & Tropek, 2016 and Lepidochrysops liberti Sáfián & Tropek, 2016. © Sz. Sáfián / Zootaxa

Filip got the Dean’s award!

Filip Tichánek receiving the award from the dean

Filip Tichánek receiving the award from the dean

Together with the Master of Sciences (Mgr. in Czech) degree, Filip was also awarded with the Dean’s award for his outstanding master thesis. Congratulations! Currently, the first manuscript from his thesis focused on use and restoration of secondary habitats of the endangered damselfly Coenagrion ornatum is waiting for the journals’ decision after the revisions. The second one, dealing with spatial ecology of the same species, is being finished and will hopefully be submitted in a few weeks.

New paper on sunbird hovering

Cyanomitra oritis

Hovering Cameroon sunbird (Cyanomitra oritis) when feeding on Impatiens sakeriana. © Š. Janeček

Besides insects, some members of our group are collaborating on the project focused on relationships between flowers and their bird pollinators supervised by our close collaborator Dr. Štěpán Janeček. Already in 2011, we have been collaborating on a study revealing that sunbirds are able to hover during nectaring similarly to hummingbirds. In the recently published study, Eliška and Štěpán focus on circumstances under which Cameroon sunbirds (Cyanomitra oritis) hover during visits of endemic plant Impatiens sakeriana.

Padyšáková E., Janeček Š. (in press) Sunbird hovering behavior is determined by both the forager and resource plantBiotropica.

Fruit-feeding butterflies and moths

In Mount Cameroon, bait trapping is one of the main methodological approaches. As we are sometimes exposing 180 traps baited in the same time we consider our sampling as the most intensive ever. At the moment, we are finishing the complete dataset from the lower elevations of the mountain. Vincent with the help of Sylvain and Pavel are now dissecting the last individuals of the captured moths (altogether more than 5,700 specimens!). Our close collaborator, Szabolcs Safian, has recently finished identification of the last specimens of fruit-feeding butterflies in the collections of the Zoological museum of the Krakow University (altogether more than 12,000 specimens!). We are looking forward to start with the first analyses of the datasets!

Sylvain and Vincent during identification of the last moths

Sylvain and Vincent during identification of the last moths

New moth records from Cameroon

Cameroonian biodiversity is incredibly rich but still quite unknown. Even basic distribution data are often missing and any faunistic surveys can help towards our understanding of Cameroonian nature. Recently, the most ineresting of our records of moth species have been published. In the lower elevations of Mt. Cameroon, we have found 19 species never recorded in the country. Simultaneously, it is the first, although still smaller, output of our Mt. Cameroon project.

So far, Deinypena lathetica Holland, 1894 has been known from Gabon only.

So far, Deinypena lathetica Holland, 1894 has been known from Gabon only. © V. Maicher

Back from the Zelezne hory Mts.

A large part of our research team has spent more than two weeks in the Zelezne hory Mts. collaborating on the project led by Dr. Michael Bartoš and Dr. Štěpán Janeček. In collaboration of several research institutions the project focuses on characteristics of pollination networks under landscape fragmentation. We have thus been studying plant-pollinator interactions in wet meadows under various degrees of isolation, focusing on changes in both plant and insect diversity, changes in the interactions, as well as traits on both species and community level. We have brought quite large datasets and rich materials for processing and analysis.

A hoverfly feeding on Sanguisorba officinalis

A hoverfly feeding on Sanguisorba officinalis

Camera system focused on Myosotis palustris

A camera system focused on Myosotis palustris

Yannick, Vincent and Bára in the field

Yannick, Vincent and Bára in the field. © S. Delabye

Recreational activities in sandpits help to conserve their biodiversity

Swimming_sandpitSandpits are well known strongholds of numerous vanishing species specialised for open sands. Many of such sandy species are, however, endangered by successional overgrowing of abandoned mining places as we have already shown. A just published study, with a contribution of our group, shows that non-intensive disturbances related to recreational activities such as swimming, are beneficial for the sandpits biodiversity. Resting people unintentionally disturb overgrown plots where endangered species of insects and plants get a chance to develop.

The group meeting in Krizanky

Last week, we organised a meeting of our group in Křižánky in the Železné hory Mts. Besides general discussions on our projects, presentations of some nearly submitted theses, and progress of various topics we have optimised the sampling of flower visitors for our fieldwork in the coming July. We thank our guests Štěpán Janeček and Zuzka Sejfová for attending the meeting.

The Insect Community Ecology Group at their meeting in Křižánky.

The Insect Community Ecology Group during their meeting in Křižánky. © G. Wofková