Migratory species depend on various habitats and resources along their migration routes. Characteristics such as dependence on distinct habitats and the presence of multiple threats along their migratory routes make these species vulnerable, and gaps in knowledge about their ecology and migration processes make them difficult to conserve. Urania boisduvalii is a diurnal moth endemic to Cuba that feeds on plants of Omphalea spp. during its larval phases. These plants produce secondary metabolites as a defence against the moth's larvae, which then are forced to migrate. Although some ecological aspects of Urania boisduvalii are known, its migration routes remain largely unknown. This research proposes potential migratory routes of Urania boisduvalii among populations of its host plant.
We developed ecological niche models of the moth and its hosts based on environmental, anthropic, biotic and biogeographic factors to obtain potential distributional areas that include zones where positive interactions are found but exclude those where negative factors are present. These areas were overlapped to hypothesize potential breeding areas for the moths. Potential migratory corridors were proposed based on environmental connectivity.
The moth and its hosts have broad potential distributions; however, limiting factors have substantially reduced these areas, especially for plants. The potential migratory routes of Urania boisduvalii are complex and mostly involve the western and eastern regions of Cuba. Most records outside potential breeding areas were close to these migratory corridors.
We offer initial hypotheses of the migratory routes of U. boisduvalii, which may be useful to guiding monitoring projects that can provide more definitive views of the seasonal distribution of this species across the Cuban archipelago.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Nuñez‐Penichet, C, Cobos, ME, Barro, A, Soberón, J. Potential migratory routes of Urania boisduvalii (Lepidoptera: Uraniidae) among host plant populations. Divers Distrib. 2019; 25: 478– 488. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12881