Chrysoritis chrysaor and Thestor protumnus

population studies

While only 1% of butterfly species are predaceous, they comprise 30% of threatened and endangered butterfly species.  This represents an important question in evolution: how does life history influence the success of a species.  To investigate why predaceous butterflies are more vulnerable to extinction, we are examining the biogeography and population genetics of two South African butterfly species in the family Lycaenidae:  Chrysoritis chrysaor, whose members are strictly herbivorous, and Thestor protumnus, whose members trick ants to regurgitate food for their consumption.

                                                                           Chrysoritis chrysaor

                                                               photo by Ada Kaliszewska