Entomology & Photography

Systematics of high altitude tropical andean satyrines, the genus Altopedaliodes Forster, 1964 (Lepidoptera, Nymphalinae: Satyrinae)

Altopedaliodes is a nymphalid satyrine genus restricted to the highest elevation forests and grasslands of the Andes mountain chain. Altopedaliodes belongs to the subtribe Pronophilina, which includes 66 genera, and ca. 690 species . They are butterflies of medium size, brown in color and with simple, pale linear patterns or dots on the wings. The genus contains some of the highest-flying butterflies of the northern Andes, from southern Venezuela to southern Peru. The species occur from 3000-3500m, at the forest-páramo ecotone, and in open páramo to above 4000m. Like all pronophilines, Altopedaliodes typically remain low among the vegetation and fly only during warmer weather. They reach their highest diversity in eastern Ecuador, where several species can be found along a single elevational transect. The most recent classification recognized 11 species and six subspecies  in Altopedaliodes.The genus is of particular evolutionary and conservation interest because a number of species have very restricted ranges and little is known about their natural history.
From a systematic viewpoint, Altopedaliodes also require close study.For this project we are using mitochondrial genes (COI, COII) and a nuclear gene (EF-1@) to propose the first phylogenetic hypotheses for this genus, with this we are working in a revision.