Climate change effects on the habitat suitability of a threatened butterfly species
A modeling study to shed light on the spatial ecology of Parnassius apollo during the Quaternary glacial cycles and which are the perspective of the species in the near future under a climate change scenario.
We attempt for the first time to investigate the suitability of the whole distribution area for the butterfly Parnassius apollo, exploring possible past and future changes due to climate change. Since the butterfly is strictly connected to its host plants for its own survival, we decided to include the two most used host plants in our models. We were also curious how the butterfly species manage to survive during the Pleistocene glacial cycles (LGM-present) and how climate change could affect its actual suitable area in the near future (2050 and 2070). According to our models, we found out that the butterfly’s range expanded during cold periods, and it seems that it would not suffer from climate change as expected.
In my opinion, there is a lack of this type of modeling study that can turn a light on some hidden knowledge about the spatial ecology of the species. We always need to take into account that these studies are based on models, therefore are an estimation of what could have happened or what will happen in the future. Nevertheless, it's worth adding this piece of information to help conservationist to act smoothly in their conservation projects.
Sbaraglia, C., Samraoui, K.R., Massolo, A., Sucháčková Bartoňová, A., Konvička, M. & Faltýnek Fric, Z. (2023) Back to the future: Climate change effects on habitat suitability of Parnassius apollo throughout the Quaternary glacial cycles. Insect Conservation and Diversity 16: 231–242.