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Thousands of Butterflies! – But Which?
The Lepidoptera Assessment at Tirimbina Biological Reserve

Until August of 2008, one could only infer that there were many species, many numbers of butterflies at the Tirimbina Biological Reserve. Just one study had been done – that of Dr. Phil DeVries, who had for five years collected monthly samples of 101 species of Nymphalidae in a vertical and horizontal stratification research project.

Then, in September, Isidro Chacon, assisted by Alexander Barrientos and Tirimbina staff launched something new. They installed a light trap during the three days of the New Moon every month to collect nocturnal butterflies attracted by light.

The results of this ongoing research project are remarkable so far: 716 species found from 29 families of Lepidoptera.

Three hundred nine (309) species have been photographed to be posted on the Tirimbina website, so they may be used for correct identification of the butterflies of Sarapiqui by the general public and by researchers. The website will also list all butterflies in this investigation. All the collected specimens have been added to the Lepidoptera collection at the National Institute of Biodiversity (INbio), which formerly numbered 2,111 species from places in the Sarapiquí area – Puerto Viejo (Finca LaSelva), Magsasay, El Ceibo, Horquetas and Chilamate.

Isidro A. Chacon, is a Costa Rican biologist, formerly curator of the Lepidoptera collection at the National Museum of Costa Rica (1979 – 1993) and researcher for Inbio. He is co-author of the recently published Butterflies and Moths of Costa Rica (2007).

Following are photographs of some of the new specimens to the Sarapiqui region, collected in Tirimbina.

This Arctiidae Ischnognatha leucapera (Dognin, 1914) was formerly only known on the Osa Peninsula on the Pacific Coast, and a few specimens in Barbilla and Bribri on the Caribbean Coast.
Picture of a female Kloneus bayaga Skinner, 1923 (Sphingidae). In Costa Rica only 5 specimens have been collected; (1) Río Chirripó Valley, (4) San Gabriel (ACG) and (1) La Tirimbina.
Agrias aedon rodriguezi Schaus, 1919 - before known only for 1 specimen in Turrialba and for an observation at the Carrillo Station (Braulio Carrillo National Park).
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