Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 11, Issue 8, pp 1451–1468 | Cite as

Persistence of species in a fragmented urban landscape: the importance of dispersal ability and habitat availability for grassland butterflies

  • Byron C. Wood
  • Andrew S. Pullin


Some species cope with, and survive in, urban areas better than others.From a conservation viewpoint it is important to understand why some species arerare or are excluded in the urban landscape, in order that we might take actionto conserve and restore species. Two ecological factors that might explain thedistribution and abundance of butterfly species in the urban landscape aredispersal ability and the availability of suitable habitat. The influence ofthese factors was assessed by examining the distribution and genetic structureof four grassland butterfly species in the West Midlands conurbation, UK. Thefour species differ in their distribution and abundance, mobility and habitatspecificity. No significant fit to the isolation-by-distance model was found forany of the study species at this spatial scale. MeanFST values revealed a non-significant level ofpopulation structuring for two species, Pieris napi (L.)and Maniola jurtina (L.), but moderate and significantpopulation differentiation for Pyronia tithonus (L.) andCoenonympha pamphilus (L.). Results suggest that thesespecies are limited more by the availability of suitable habitat than by theirability to move among habitat patches. Conservation strategies for thesegrassland species should initially focus on the creation and appropriatemanagement of suitable habitat. More sedentary species that have already beenexcluded from the conurbation may require a more complex strategy for theirsuccessful restoration.

Allozymes Conservation Genetic structure Habitat availability Species mobility 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Byron C. Wood
    • 1
  • Andrew S. Pullin
    • 1
  1. 1.School of BiosciencesThe University of BirminghamEdgbastonUK

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