According to a study published Tuesday at the Natural History Museum in London, Colombia is home to about 20% of the world’s butterfly species, the largest in the world.
In a document titled “Butterflies of Colombia, Checklist,” an international team of scientists identified 3,642 species and 2,085 subspecies in this country that enjoys one of the richest biodiversity in the world.
“More than 200 species of butterflies on this list live in Colombia alone and no other country in the world,” said Blanca Huertas, a butterfly specialist at the Natural History Museum in London.
“Also, if we lose them, there is no rescue population and it will be forever,” she said, calling for the protection of their natural habitat. He wants “the protection of butterflies in Colombia to help protect forests and other less charismatic species.”
Scientists participated in this project “for most of their careers,” during study trips to Colombia, as well as from the analysis of more than 350,000 photographs and bibliographic compilations that have existed since the 18th century. “, It is stated in the museum statement.
With this 300-page list, “Colombia is now officially recognized as the most important quantity of butterflies in the world, a position it already occupies for birds and orchids,” the institution recalls.
According to the study, two other South American countries, Peru and Ecuador, are approaching such a level of lepidoptera biodiversity, but so far no comprehensive scientific publication in those countries could be more accurate.
Researchers also point out that the list of butterflies in Colombia “still suffers from a lack of information” and will need to be supplemented by new research and discoveries.
“Colombia is a country with a great diversity of natural habitats, a complex and heterogeneous geography (…) These factors, added to the sensitive security situation of the last century in certain regions, have limited progress in field research to date,” the museum says.
Many regions of the country have been affected by armed conflict for decades against the revolt of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which signed a peace agreement in 2016. Paramilitary and smuggling groups also foster insecurity.