Small sample, substantial contribution: additions to the Honduran hawkmoth (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) fauna based on collections from a mountainous protected area (Cusuco National Park)
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- Vanhove, M.P.M., Jocque, M., Mann, D.J. et al. J Insect Conserv (2012) 16: 629. doi:10.1007/s10841-012-9505-0
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With the largest part of diversity in the world absorbed by invertebrates, ignoring invertebrates in biodiversity surveys and monitoring of areas under conservation would give a strongly incomplete image. The poor knowledge of most invertebrate taxa and their enormous diversity limits most surveys to the better-studied groups. Hawkmoths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) are one of the more charismatic and well-known groups among the Lepidoptera and hence a valuable group commonly used in biodiversity research. In this small-scale study, 42 museum specimens of sphingids from Cusuco National Park (Cortés, Honduras) were identified and compared to recent published accounts. This yielded three new country records and, in addition, four new regional records for the park. Some of the additions to the Honduran fauna probably result from recent taxonomic changes. However, the several contributions using a small collection of this well-studied group in an area which has attracted previous research interest, demonstrate the incomplete data availability and the necessity for more rigorous surveying. Several new records concern high altitude species, indicating the data gap in mountains. As elevation is an important determinant of sphingid community structure, sampling across an altitudinal range is recommended. This study also underpins the usefulness of a reference collection-based approach in particular, as many hawkmoth species are identified using subtle diagnostic characters.