Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 277–286 | Cite as

Long-term stability of the hawkmoth fauna (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae) in a protected area of Brazilian Atlantic Rain Forest

  • Pedro I. Chiquetto-Machado
  • Felipe W. AmorimEmail author
  • Marcelo Duarte


Hawkmoths are an important component of tropical ecosystems, with significant roles as herbivores and pollinators. These moths can be used as indicators in biodiversity assessments because they can be easily sampled and identified. However, hawkmoths have seldom been surveyed over the long term for this purpose, especially in the Neotropical region. Considering that long-term datasets are of indisputable importance for understanding and monitoring temporal changes in biodiversity, this study assessed long-term changes in the hawkmoth fauna in a protected Atlantic Rain Forest area over a period of 64 years. We used historical and recent empirical datasets to ask whether faunal-diversity patterns and species composition have changed over time. We used individual- and sample-based rarefaction and extrapolation curves based on Hill number (diversity order of q = 0) to compare species richness, and the probability version of the abundance-based Chao-Jaccard index to assess beta diversity over time. To assess changes in faunal composition, we conducted a nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis and performed an analysis of similarities to test whether the community composition has changed. Our results clearly showed long-term stability of the hawkmoth community over the 64 years, despite the growing human-induced landscape changes that occurred in the region surrounding the study area during the last 6 decades. This study emphasizes the importance of large remnants of Atlantic Forest for long-term maintenance of both functional diversity and ecosystem functioning.


Atlantic Forest Brazil Diversity Insect conservation Pollinator Sphingid 



We are grateful to Ana Maria Vasques, Geraldo Masélio dos Santos, Firmino Rodrigues Gomes, and Mercedes Águido da Silva (Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo) for the logistical support for field trips; to Fabiano Fabian Albertoni and Alessandra Zola Ramin for their indispensable aid during field work; to Carlos Zucco and Fabiano Fabian Albertoni for providing the map used in this article; and to Renato de Oliveira e Silva (Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo) for his daily assistance with the curatorial procedures in the Lepidoptera collection. We are also very grateful to two anonymous reviewers and to for their valuable comments and suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript. PICM was awarded a scholarship from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, Grant 2012/12087-0) for the execution of the research. This study was also funded by FAPESP Grants 2002/13898-0, 2010/14682-8 and 2011/50225-3, and by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Proc. 484469/2013 to FWA, and Grant 563332/2010-7—SISBIOTA/Rede Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação de Lepidópteros to MD). MD has been supported by CNPq fellowships (305905/2012-0 and 311083/2015-3). We also thank PROEX/CAPES (Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, USP) for providing funds for English revision.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We have no conflicts of interest to disclose. All necessary permits were obtained for the field study, which did not involve endangered or protected species.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 4508 KB)
10841_2018_61_MOESM2_ESM.docx (69 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 69 KB)


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museu de ZoologiaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Ecologia da Polinização e Interações – LEPI, Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”BotucatuBrazil

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