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The tales of a super Butterfly: Disentangling the genetic, morphometric and physiological history of the migrant butterfly Vannesa carye (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), A starting point at northern Chile.

Animal migration is an evolutionary mechanism that different animals show against environmental heterogeneity in both space and time. Consequently, animal migration corresponds to a strategy that enables the exploitation of temporary resources related to non-permanent habitats (Chapman et al., 2015; Dingle and Drake, 2007; Talavera and Vila, 2016). Migratory strategies have evolved several times on diverse unrelated species including most major groups such as birds, mammals (terrestrial and aquatic), fish, reptiles, crustaceans and insects, in this last butterflies are specially known by the Monarch and the Vanessa migration, inserted in several program to detect migration by the help of citizen science (Alerstam et al., 2003; Dingle and Drake, 2007).














In Chile two butterfly species of the genus Vanessa inhabit in most of the geography: Vanessa carye and Vanessa terpsichore. The first occurs from Venezuela to Patagonia and it is suspected to be a long-distance migrant. In contrast, V. terpischore’s distributional range is much more restricted, inhabiting from Coquimbo to Magallanes, and it is considered a poor disperser within the genus Vanessa (Peña and Ugarte, 1996) Our project focus in the study of the migration pattern of Vanessa carye in a first sage in the North of Chile, but with an expansion to all the Chilean Territory.


Currently, is the 3rd year of the grant and the team has been visited different part of the Chile, particularly the Northern part of the Altiplano, finding Vanessa carye laying eggs at more than 5200 masl being the highest record for the genus in the Laguna Sora Pata (Caquena).

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In order to explore the pattern of migration of Vanessa carye, the EME LAB and collaborators visited different parts of the south of Chile with emphasis to discover the extreme south of the distribution of the species, collecting individuals from Osorno, Puerto Montt and expanding the limits finding evidence at the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

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