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This lab studies butterfly diversity patterns in time and space, as well as their evolutionary causes. Its end goal is to answer longstanding questions regarding the limits between species, chromosomal evolution and the link between phylogeography and ecology. When did a group of butterflies colonise the New World and what route did they follow? How did parasitism evolve from a friendly association between species? Are there species that we cannot visually distinguish? Can a butterfly cross the Sahara desert? These are a few examples of the questions addressed by the Butterfly Diversity & Evolution lab.

Lab website: Butterfly Diversity & Evolution Lab

Investigador principal

Roger Vila Ujaldón

Vila Ujaldón, Roger
CSIC Tenured Scientist
Butterfly Diversity and Evolution Lab

Miembros del grupo

Valéria Carvalho Marques

Carvalho Marques, Valéria
Predoctoral Researcher
Butterfly diversity and evolution Lab

Cecilia Corbella Felip

Corbella Felip, Cecilia
Laboratory Technician
Butterfly Diversity & Evolution Lab

Mattia Menchetti

Menchetti, Mattia
Predoctoral Researcher
Butterfly Diversity and Evolution

Loukia Spilani

Spilani, Loukia
Predoctoral Researcher
Butterfly diversity and evolution Lab

Eric Toro Delgado

Toro Delgado, Eric
Predoctoral Researcher
Butterfly diversity and evolution

Proyectos en curso


Toro-Delgado E, Vila R, Talavera G, Turner EC, Hayes MP, Horrocks NPC, Bladon AJ. 2024. Regional differences in thermoregulation between two European butterfly communities. Journal of Animal Ecology, 93(2):183-195. DOI:10.1111/1365-2656.14039

Marques V, Hinojosa JC, Dapporto L, Talavera G, Stefanescu C, Gutiérrez D, Vila R. 2024. The opposed forces of differentiation and admixture across glacial cycles in the butterfly Aglais urticae. Molecular Ecology. DOI:10.1111/mec.17304

Ghouri S, Reich MS, Lopez-Mañas R, Talavera G, Bowen GJ, Vila R, Talla VNK, Collins SC, Martins DJ, Bataille CP. 2024. A hydrogen isoscape for tracing the migration of herbivorous lepidopterans across the Afro‐Palearctic range. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 38(3):1-23. DOI:10.1002/rcm.9675

Vila R, Lohse K, Hayward A, Laetsch DR, Wright C. 2023. The genome sequence of the Chalkhill Blue, Lysandra coridon (Poda, 1761). Wellcome Open Research, 8(May):162. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.19253.1

Talavera G, García-Berro A, Talla VNK, Ng'iru I, Bahleman F, Kébé K, Nzala KM, Plasencia D, Marafi MAJ, Kassie A, Goudégnon EOA, Kiki M, Benyamini D, Reich MS, López-Mañas R, Benetello F, Collins SC, Bataille CP, Pierce NE, Martins DJ, Suchan T, Menchetti M, Vila R. 2023. The Afrotropical breeding grounds of the Palearctic-African migratory painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(16):2017. DOI:10.1073/pnas.2218280120

Schifani E, Alicata A, Borowiec L, García F, Gentile V, Gómez K, Nalini E, Rigato F, Schär S, Scupola A, Vila R, Menchetti M. 2023. Unrecognized for centuries: distribution and sexual caste descriptions of the West European Aphaenogaster species of the subterranea group (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). ZooKeys, 1153:141-156. DOI:10.3897/zookeys.1153.98297

Schär S, Vila R, Menchetti M. 2023. First Record of the Introduced Ant Myrmica specioides In the Eastern United States. Sociobiology, 70(4):e9153. DOI:10.13102/sociobiology.v70i4.9153

Polic D, Yıldırım Y, Vila R, Ribeiro Cardoso PR, Franzén M, Forsman A. 2023. Large-scale spatial variation and phenotypic integration in three Argynnini species inform about functions and evolutionary drivers of butterfly wings. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 11(June):1-17. DOI:10.3389/fevo.2023.1087859

Palahí I Torres A, Höök L, Näsvall K, Shipilina D, Wiklund C, Vila R, Pruisscher P, Backström N. 2023. The fine-scale recombination rate variation and associations with genomic features in a butterfly. Genome Research. DOI:10.1101/gr.277414.122

Nazari V, Lukhtanov VA, Naderi A, Fric ZF, Dincă V, Vila R. 2023. More hidden diversity in a cryptic species complex: a new subspecies of Leptidea sinapis (Lepidoptera, Pieridae) from Northern Iran. Comparative Cytogenetics, 17:113-128. DOI:10.3897/compcytogen.17.102830

Menchetti M, Schifani E, Alicata A, Vila R. 2023. Quantitative morphology and mtDNA reveal that Lasius maltaeus is not endemic to the Maltese Islands (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 95:129-142. DOI:10.3897/jhr.95.96365

Menchetti M, Schifani E, Alicata A, Cardador L, Sbrega E, Toro-Delgado E, Vila R. 2023. The invasive ant Solenopsis invicta is established in Europe. Current Biology, 33(17):R896-R897. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2023.07.036

Mackintosh A, Vila R, Laetsch DR, Hayward A, Martin SH, Lohse K. 2023. Chromosome Fissions and Fusions Act as Barriers to Gene Flow between Brenthis Fritillary Butterflies. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 40(3). DOI:10.1093/molbev/msad043

Mackintosh A, Vila R, Martin SH, Setter D, Lohse K. 2023. Do chromosome rearrangements fix by genetic drift or natural selection? Insights from Brenthis butterflies. Molecular Ecology. DOI:10.1111/mec.17146

Lohse K, Vila R, Hayward A, Laetsch DR, Toro-Delgado E. 2023. The genome sequence of the Silver-spotted Skipper, Hesperia comma (Linnaeus, 1758). Wellcome Open Research, 8:457. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.19762.1

Lohse K, Hayward A, Vila R, Carvalho APS, Kawahara AY. 2023. The genome sequence of the Large Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanus, (Esper, 1777). Wellcome Open Research, 8:75. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.18788.1

Kawahara AY, Storer C, Carvalho APS, Plotkin DM, Condamine FL, Braga MP, Ellis EA, St Laurent RA, Li X, Barve V, Cai L, Earl C, Frandsen PB, Owens HL, Valencia-Montoya WA, Aduse-Poku K, Toussaint EFA, Dexter KM, Doleck T, Markee A, Messcher R, Nguyen YL, Badon JAT, Benítez HA, Braby MF, Buenavente PAC, Chan WP, Collins SC, Rabideau Childers RA, Dankowicz E, Eastwood R, Fric ZF, Gott RJ, Hall JPW, Hallwachs W, Hardy NB, Sipe RLH, Heath A, Hinolan JD, Homziak NT, Hsu YF, Inayoshi Y, Itliong MGA, Janzen DH, Kitching IJ, Kunte K, Lamas G, Landis MJ, Larsen EA, Larsen TB, Leong JV, Lukhtanov V, Maier CA, Martinez JI, Martins DJ, Maruyama K, Maunsell SC, Mega NO, Monastyrskii A, Morais ABB, Müller CJ, Naive MAK, Nielsen G, Padrón PS, Peggie D, Romanowski HP, Sáfián S, Saito M, Schröder S, Shirey V, Soltis D, Soltis P, Sourakov A, Talavera G, Vila R, Vlasanek P, Wang H, Warren AD, Willmott KR, Yago M, Jetz W, Jarzyna MA, Breinholt JW, Espeland M, Ries L, Guralnick RP, Pierce NE, Lohman DJ. 2023. A global phylogeny of butterflies reveals their evolutionary history, ancestral hosts and biogeographic origins. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 7(6):903-913. DOI:10.1038/s41559-023-02041-9

Höök L, Näsvall K, Vila R, Wiklund C, Backström N. 2023. High-density linkage maps and chromosome level genome assemblies unveil direction and frequency of extensive structural rearrangements in wood white butterflies (Leptidea spp.). Chromosome Research, 31(1):2. DOI:10.1007/s10577-023-09713-z.

Hinojosa JC, Montiel-Pantoja C, Sanjurjo-Franch M, Martínez-Pérez I, Lee KM, Mutanen M, Vila R. 2023. Diversification linked to larval host plant in the butterfly Eumedonia eumedon. Molecular Ecology, 32(1):182-197. DOI:10.1111/mec.16728

García-Berro A, Talla V, Vila R, Wai HK, Shipilina D, Chan KG, Pierce NE, Backström N, Talavera G. 2023. Migratory behaviour is positively associated with genetic diversity in butterflies. Molecular Ecology, 32(3):560-574. DOI:10.1111/mec.16770

Espeland M, Chazot N, Condamine FL, Lemmon AR, Lemmon EM, Pringle E, Heath A, Collins S, Tiren W, Mutiso M, Lees DC, Fisher S, Murphy R, Woodhall S, Tropek R, Ahlborn SS, Cockburn K, Dobson J, Bouyer T, Kaliszewska ZA, Baker CCM, Talavera G, Vila R, Gardiner AJ, Williams M, Martins DJ, Sáfián S, Edge DA, Pierce NE. 2023. Rapid radiation of ant parasitic butterflies during the Miocene aridification of Africa. Ecology and Evolution, 13(5):1-15. DOI:10.1002/ece3.10046

D’Ercole J, Vila R, Dapporto L, Pentinsaari M, Talavera G, Dincă V, Hebert PDN. 2023. Molecular evolution in introduced insect species—a mitochondrial perspective. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 11(July):1-6. DOI:10.3389/fevo.2023.1218690

de Dios T, Fontsere C, Renom P, Stiller J, Llovera L, Uliano-Silva M, Sánchez-Gracia A, Wright C, Lizano E, Caballero B, Navarro A, Civit S, Robbins RK., Blaxter M, Marquès-Bonet T, Vila R, Lalueza-Fox C. 2023. Whole-genomes from the extinct Xerces Blue butterfly can help identify declining insect species. eLife. DOI:

Boman J, Zhu Y, Höök L, Vila R, Talavera G, Backström N. 2023. Environmental stress during larval development induces DNA methylation shifts in the migratory painted lady butterfly ( Vanessa cardui ). Molecular Ecology, 32(13):3513-3523. DOI:10.1111/mec.16957

Vila R, Lohse K, Hayward A, Laetsch DR, Wahlberg N. 2022. The genome sequence of the white admiral, Limenitis camilla (Linnaeus, 1764). Wellcome Open Research, 7:301. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.18594.1

Vila R, Lohse K, Hayward A, Laetsch D. 2022. The genome sequence of the marbled white butterfly, Melanargia galathea (Linnaeus, 1758). Wellcome Open Research, 7:123. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17807.1

Talavera G, Lukhtanov V, Pierce NE, Vila R. 2022. DNA barcodes combined with multi-locus data of representative taxa can generate reliable higher-level phylogenies. Systematic Biology, 71(2):382-395. DOI:10.1093/sysbio/syab038

Sistri G, Menchetti M, Santini L, Pasquali L, Sapienti S, Cini A, Platania L, Balletto E, Barbero F, Bonelli S, Casacci LP, Dincă V, Vila R, Mantoni C, Fattorini S, Dapporto L. 2022. The isolated Erebia pandrose Apennine population is genetically unique and endangered by climate change. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 15(1):136-148. DOI:10.1111/icad.12538

Schär S, Talavera G, Rana JD, Espadaler X, Cover SP, Shattuck SO, Vila R. 2022. Integrative taxonomy reveals cryptic diversity in North American Lasius ants, and an overlooked introduced species. Scientific Reports, 12(1):5970. DOI:10.1038/s41598-022-10047-9

Polic D, Yıldırım Y, Lee KM, Franzén M, Mutanen M, Vila R, Forsman A. 2022. Linking large‐scale genetic structure of three Argynnini butterfly species to geography and environment. Molecular Ecology, 31(16):4381-4401. DOI:10.1111/mec.16594

Menchetti M, Schifani E, Gentile V, Vila R. 2022. The worrying arrival of the invasive Asian needle ant Brachyponera chinensis in Europe (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 5115(1):146-150. DOI:10.11646/zootaxa.5115.1.10

Mackintosh A, Laetsch DR, Baril T, Foster R, Dincă V, Vila R, Hayward A, Lohse K. 2022. The genome sequence of the lesser marbled fritillary, Brenthis ino , and evidence for a segregating neo-Z chromosome. G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics, 12(6):1-43. DOI:10.1093/g3journal/jkac069

López-Mañas R, Pascual-Díaz JP, García-Berro A, Bahleman F, Reich MS, Pokorny L, Bataille CP, Vila R, Domingo-Marimon C, Talavera G. 2022. Erratic spatiotemporal vegetation growth anomalies drive population outbreaks in a trans-Saharan insect migrant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(19):3-5. DOI:10.1073/pnas.2121249119

Lohse K, Hayward A, Laetsch DR, Wahlberg N. 2022. The genome sequence of the high brown fritillary, Fabriciana adippe (Dennis & Schiffermüller, 1775). Wellcome Open Research, 7:298. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.18569.1

Lohse K, Hayward A, Vila R, Howe C. 2022. The genome sequence of the Adonis blue, Lysandra bellargus (Rottemburg, 1775). Wellcome Open Research, 7:255. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.18330.1

Lohse K, Hayward A, Laetsch DR, Vila R, Yumnam T. 2022. The genome sequence of the common yellow swallowtail, Papilio machaon (Linnaeus, 1758). Wellcome Open Research, 7:261. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.18119.1

Lohse K, Hayward A, Laetsch DR, Vila R, Lucek K. 2022. The genome sequence of the Arran brown, Erebia ligea (Linnaeus, 1758). Wellcome Open Research, 7:259. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.18115.1

Hinojosa JC, Dapporto L, Pitteloud C, Koubínová D, Hernández-Roldán J, Vicente JC, Alvarez N, Vila R. 2022. Hybridization fuelled diversification in Spialia butterflies. Molecular Ecology, 31(10):2951-2967.  DOI:10.1111/mec.16426

Hayward A, Vila R, Lohse K, Laetsch D. 2022. The genome sequence of the grizzled skipper, Pyrgus malvae (Linnaeus, 1758). Wellcome Open Research, 7(May):114. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17806.1

Tahami MS, Dincă V, Lee KM, Vila R, Joshi M, Heikkilä M, Dapporto L, Schmid S, Huemer P, Mutanen M. 2021. Genomics Reveal Admixture and Unexpected Patterns of Diversity in a Parapatric Pair of Butterflies. Genes, 12(12):2009. DOI:10.3390/genes12122009

Näsvall K, Wiklund C, Mrazek V, Künstner A, Talla V, Busch H, Vila R, Backström N. 2021. Host plant diet affects growth and induces altered gene expression and microbiome composition in the wood white (Lepidia sinapis) butterfly. Molecular Ecology, 30(2):499-516. DOI:10.1111/mec.15745

Menchetti M, Talavera G, Cini A, Salvati V, Dincă V, Platania L, Bonelli S, Balletto E, Vila R, Dapporto L. 2021. Two ways to be endemic. Alps and Apennines are different functional refugia during climatic cycles. Molecular Ecology, 30(5):1297-1310. DOI: 10.1111/mec.15795. 

Hinojosa JC, Dapporto L, Brockmann E, Dinca V, Tikhonov V, Grishin N, Lukhtanov VA, Vila R. 2021. Overlooked cryptic diversity in muschampia (lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) adds two species to the european butterfly fauna. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 193(3):847-859. DOI:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa171

Hayward A, Vila R, Laetsch DR, Lohse K, Baril T. 2021. The genome sequence of the heath fritillary, Melitaea athalia (Rottemburg, 1775). Wellcome Open Research, 6:304. DOI:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17280.1

Groza B, Vodă R, Székely L, Vila R, Dincă V. 2021. Genetics and extreme confinement of three overlooked butterfly species in Romania call for immediate conservation actionsJournal of Insect Conservation, 25(1):137–146. DOI: 10.1007/s10841-020-00281-9

Ebdon S, Laetsch DR, Dapporto L, Hayward A, Ritchie MG, Dincă V, Vila R, Lohse K. 2021. The Pleistocene species pump past its prime: evidence from European butterfly sister species. Molecular Ecology, 30(14):3575-3589. DOI: 10.1111/mec.15981

Dincă V, Dapporto L, Somervuo P, Vodă R, Cuvelier S, Gascoigne-Pees M, Huemer P, Mutanen M, Hebert PDN, Vila R. 2021. High resolution DNA barcode library for European butterflies reveals continental patterns of mitochondrial genetic diversity. Communications Biology, 4(1). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-021-01834-7. 

Chazot N, Condamine FL, Dudas G, Peña C, Kodandaramaiah U, Matos-Maraví P, Aduse-Poku K, Elias M, Warren AD, Lohman DJ, Penz CM, DeVries P, Fric ZF, Nylin S, Müller C, Kawahara AY, Silva-Brandão KL, Lamas G, Kleckova I, Zubek A, Ortiz-Acevedo E, Vila R, Vane-Wright RI, Mullen SP, Jiggins CD, Wheat CW, Freitas AVL, Wahlberg N. 2021. Conserved ancestral tropical niche but different continental histories explain the latitudinal diversity gradient in brush-footed butterflies. Nature Communications, 12(1):5717. DOI:10.1038/s41467-021-25906-8

Platania L, Vodă R, Dincă V, Talavera G, Vila R, Dapporto L. 2020. Integrative analyses on Western Palearctic Lasiommata reveal a mosaic of nascent butterfly species. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 58(4):809-822. DOI:10.1111/jzs.12356

Yoshido A, Šíchová J, Pospíšilová K, Nguyen P, Voleníková A, Šafář J, Provazník J, Vila R, Marec F. 2020. Evolution of multiple sex-chromosomes associated with dynamic genome reshuffling in Leptidea wood-white butterflies. Heredity, 125(3):138-154. DOI:10.1038/s41437-020-0325-9

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