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

Roger Vila Ujaldón

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

Valéria Carvalho Marques

Carvalho Marques, Valéria
Predoctoral Researcher
Butterfly diversity and evolution

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

Eric Toro Delgado

Toro Delgado, Eric
Predoctoral Researcher
Butterfly diversity and evolution

Scalercio S, Cini A, Menchetti M, Vodă R, Bonelli S, Bordoni A, Casacci LP, Dincă V, Balletto E, Vila R, Dapporto L. 2020. How long is 3 km for a butterfly? Ecological constraints and functional traits explain high mitochondrial genetic diversity between Sicily and the Italian Peninsula. Journal of Animal Ecology, 89(9):2013-2026. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.13196

Schär S, Menchetti M, Schifani E, Hinojosa JC, Platania L, Dapporto L, Vila R. 2020. Integrative biodiversity inventory of ants from a Sicilian archipelago reveals high diversity on young volcanic islands (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Organisms Diversity & Evolution, 20(3):405-416. DOI:10.1007/s13127-020-00442-3

Platania L, Menchetti M, Dinca V, Corbella C, Kay-Lavelle I, Vila R, Wiemers M, Schweiger O, Dapporto L. 2020. Assigning occurrence data to cryptic taxa improves climatic niche assessments: Biodecrypt, a new tool tested on European butterflies. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 29(10):1852-1865. DOI:10.1111/geb.13154 

Lukhtanov VA, Dincă V, Friberg M, Vila R, Wiklund C. 2020. Incomplete Sterility of Chromosomal Hybrids: Implications for Karyotype Evolution and Homoploid Hybrid Speciation. Frontiers in Genetics, 11: 583827. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2020.583827

Kaminski LA, Volkmann L, Callaghan CJ, DeVries PJ, Vila R. 2020. The first known riodinid ‘cuckoo’ butterfly reveals deep-time convergence and parallelism in ant social parasites. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 1-20. DOI:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa150

Hinojosa JC, Koubínová D, Dincă V, Hernández‐Roldán J, Munguira ML, García‐Barros E, Vila M, Alvarez N, Mutanen M, Vila R. 2020. Rapid colour shift by reproductive character displacement in Cupido butterflies. Molecular Ecology, 29(24):4942–4955. DOI: 10.1111/mec.15682.

Toussaint EFA, Dias FMS, Mielke OHH, Casagrande MM, Sañudo-Restrepo CP, Lam A, Morinière J, Balke M, Vila R. 2019. Flight over the Proto-Caribbean seaway: Phylogeny and macroevolution of Neotropical Anaeini leafwing butterflies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 137: 86-103. DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2019.04.020

Toussaint EFA, Vila R, Yago M, Chiba H, Warren AD, Aduse-Poku K, Storer C, Dexter KM, Maruyama K, Lohman DJ, Kawahara, AY. 2019. Out of the Orient: Post-Tethyan transoceanic and trans-Arabian routes fostered the spread of Baorini skippers in the Afrotropics. Systematic Entomology, 44(4):926-938. DOI:10.1111/syen.12365

Talla V.; Johansson A.;Dincă V.;Vila R.; Friberg M.; Wiklund C.; Backström N. 2019. Lack of gene flow: Narrow and dispersed differentiation islands in a triplet of Leptidea butterfly speciesMolecular Ecology. doi: DOI: 10.1111/mec.15188

Talla V, Johansson A, Dincă V, Vila R, Friberg M, Wiklund C, Backström N. 2019. Lack of gene flow: Narrow and dispersed differentiation islands in a triplet of Leptidea butterfly species. Molecular Ecology, 28(16):3756-3770. DOI:10.1111/mec.15188

Szenteczki MA, Pitteloud C, Casacci LP, Kešnerová L, Whitaker MRL, Engel P, Vila R, Alvarez N. 2019. Bacterial communities within Phengaris (Maculinea) alcon caterpillars are shifted following transition from solitary living to social parasitism of Myrmica ant colonies. Ecology and Evolution, 9(8):4452-4464. DOI:10.1002/ece3.5010

Suchan T, Talavera G, Sáez L, Ronikier M, Vila R. 2019. Pollen metabarcoding as a tool for tracking long-distance insect migrations. Molecular Ecology Resources,19(1):149-162. DOI:10.1111/1755-0998.12948


Ryan SF, Lombaert E, Espeset A, Vila R, Talavera G, Dincă V, Doellman MM, Renshaw MA, Eng MW, Hornett EA, Li Y, Pfrender ME, Shoemaker D. 2019. Global invasion history of the agricultural pest butterfly Pieris rapae revealed with genomics and citizen science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(40):20015-20024. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1907492116

Postigo JL, Strubbe D, Mori E, Ancillotto L, Carneiro I, Latsoudis P, Menchetti M, Pârâu LG, Parrott D, Reino L, Weiserbs A, Senar JC. 2019. Mediterranean versus Atlantic monk parakeets Myiopsitta monachus: towards differentiated management at the European scale. Pest Management Science, 75(4):915-922. doi:10.1002/ps.5320

Mori E, Sala JP, Fattorini N, Menchetti M, Montalvo T, Senar JC. 2019. Ectoparasite sharing among native and invasive birds in a metropolitan area. Parasitology Research, 118(2):399-409. DOI:10.1007/s00436-018-6174-2

Menchetti M, Guéguen M, Talavera G. 2019. Spatio-temporal ecological niche modelling of multigenerational insect migrations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1910). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2019.1583

Mackintosh A, Laetsch DR, Hayward A, Charlesworth B, Waterfall M, Vila R, Lohse K. 2019. The determinants of genetic diversity in butterflies. Nature Communications, 10(1):1-9. DOI:10.1038/s41467-019-11308-4

Macià FX, Menchetti M, Corbella C, Grajera J, Vila R. 2019. Exploitation of the invasive Asian Hornet Vespa velutina by the European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus. Bird Study, 66(3):425-429. DOI:10.1080/00063657.2019.1660304

Hinojosa JC, Koubínová D, Szenteczki MA, Pitteloud C, Dincă V, Alvarez N, Vila R. 2019. A mirage of cryptic species: Genomics uncover striking mitonuclear discordance in the butterfly Thymelicus sylvestris. Molecular Ecology, 28(17):3857-3868. DOI:10.1111/mec.15153

Hinojosa JC, Monasterio Y, Escobés R, Dince V, Vila R. 2019. Erebia epiphron and Erebia orientalis: Sibling butterfly species with contrasting histories. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 126(2):338-348. DOI:10.1093/biolinnean/bly182

Gaunet A, Dincă V, Dapporto L, Montagud S, Vodă R, Schär S, Badiane A, Font E, Vila R. 2019. Two consecutive Wolbachia-mediated mitochondrial introgressions obscure taxonomy in Palearctic swallowtail butterflies (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae). Zoologica Scripta, 48(4):507-519. DOI:10.1111/zsc.12355

Dincă V, Lee KM, Vila R, Mutanen M. 2019. The conundrum of species delimitation: A genomic perspective on a mitogenetically super-variable butterfly. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1911). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2019.1311

Di Febbraro M, Menchetti M, Russo D, Ancillotto L, Aloise G, Roscioni F, Preatoni DG, Loy A, Martinoli A, Bertolino S, Mori E. 2019. Integrating climate and land-use change scenarios in modelling the future spread of invasive squirrels in Italy. Diversity and Distributions, 25(4):644-659. DOI:10.1111/ddi.12890

Dapporto L, Cini A, Vodă R, Dincă V, Wiemers M, Menchetti M, Magini G, Talavera G, Shreeve T, Bonelli S, Casacci LP, Balletto E, Scalercio S, Vila R. 2019. Integrating three comprehensive data sets shows that mitochondrial DNA variation is linked to species traits and paleogeographic events in European butterflies. Molecular Ecology Resources, 19(6):1623-1636. DOI:10.1111/1755-0998.13059

Carnicer J, Stefanescu C, Vives-Ingla M, López C, Cortizas S, Wheat C, Vila R, Llusià J, Peñuelas J. 2019. Phenotypic biomarkers of climatic impacts on declining insect populations: A key role for decadal drought, thermal buffering and amplification effects and host plant dynamics. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88(3):376-391. DOI:10.1111/1365-2656.12933.

Zozzoli R, Menchetti M, Mori E. 2018. Spatial behaviour of an overlooked alien squirrel: The case of Siberian chipmunks Eutamias sibiricus. Behavioural Processes, 153:107-111. DOI:10.1016/j.beproc.2018.05.014

Wiemers M, Balletto E, Dincă V, Faltynek Fric Z, Gerardo Lamas, Lukhtanov V, Munguira ML, Chris A M van Swaay, Vila R, Vliegenthart A, Wahlberg N, Verovnik R. 2018. An updated checklist of the European butterflies (lepidoptera, papilionoidea). ZooKeys, 2018(811):9-45. DOI:10.3897/zookeys.811.28712

Todisco V, Grill A, Fiedler K, Gottsberger B, Dincǎ V, Vodǎ R, Lukhtanov V, Letsch H. 2018. Molecular phylogeny of the Palaearctic butterfly genus Pseudophilotes (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) with focus on the Sardinian endemic P. barbagiae. BMC Zoology, 3(1):1-12. DOI:10.1186/s40850-018-0032-7

Talavera G, Bataille C, Benyamini D, Gascoigne-Pees M, Vila R. 2018. Round-trip across the Sahara: Afrotropical Painted Lady butterflies recolonize the Mediterranean in early spring. Biology Letters, 14(6). DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2018.0274

Solé R, Ollé-Vila A, Vidiella B, Duran-Nebreda S, Conde-Pueyo N. 2018. The road to synthetic multicellularity. Current Opinion in Systems Biology, 7:60-67. DOI:10.1016/j.coisb.2017.11.007

Schär S, Talavera G, Espadaler X, Rana JD, Andersen Andersen A, Cover SP, Vila R. 2018. Do Holarctic ant species exist? Trans-Beringian dispersal and homoplasy in the Formicidae. Journal of Biogeography, 45(8):1917-1928. DOI:10.1111/jbi.13380

Schär S, Eastwood R, Arnaldi KG, Talavera G, Kaliszewska ZA, Boyle JH, Espeland M, Nash DR, Vila R, Pierce NE. 2018. Ecological specialization is associated with genetic structure in the ant-associated butterfly family Lycaenidae. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285(1886):20181158. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2018.1158

Lukhtanov VA, Dincă V, Friberg M, Šíchová J, Olofsson M, Vila R, Marec F, Wiklund C. 2018. Versatility of multivalent orientation, inverted meiosis, and rescued fitness in holocentric chromosomal hybrids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(41):E9610-E9619. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1802610115

Livraghi L, Vodă R, Evans LC, Gibbs M, Dincă V, Holland PWH, Shreeve TG, Vila R, Dapporto L, Breuker CJ. 2018. Historical and current patterns of gene flow in the butterfly Pararge aegeria. Journal of Biogeography, 45(7):1628-1639. DOI:10.1111/jbi.13354

Leal L, Talla V, Källman T, Friberg M, Wiklund C, Dincă V, Vila R, Backström N. 2018. Gene expression profiling across ontogenetic stages in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) reveals pathways linked to butterfly diapause regulation. Molecular Ecology, 27(4):935-948. DOI:10.1111/mec.14501

Lalanne Cassou B, Lalanne Cassou C, Hinojosa JC, Vila R, Mérit X. 2018. Étude d’un nouvel hybride d’Erebia pyrénéens Erebia pronoe (Esper, 1780) femelle x Erebia meolans (de Prunner, 1798) mâle. Lépidoptères - Revue des Lépidoptéristes de France, 27(70):85-95.

Jasso-Martínez JM, Machkour-M’Rabet S, Vila R, Rodríguez-Arnaiz R, Castañeda-Sortibrán AN. 2018. Molecular evidence of hybridization in sympatric populations of the Enantia jethys complex (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). PLoS ONE, 13(5):1-23. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0197116

Hinojosa J.C.; Monasterio Y.; Escobés R.; Dinca V.; Vila R. 2018. Erebia epiphron and Erebia orientalis: sibling butterfly species with constrasting histories. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society:1-11 doi: 10.1093/biolinnean/bly182

Hernández-Roldán JL, Vicente JC, Vila R, Munguira ML. 2018. Natural history and immature stage morphology of Spialia Swinhoe, 1912 in the Iberian Peninsula (Lepidoptera, Hesperiidae). Nota Lepidopterologica, 41(1):1-22. DOI:10.3897/nl.41.13539

Guerra Serrudo JF, Siebel G, Vila R, Benyamini D, Bálint Z. 2018. A remarkable record of the genus Pseudolucia from Bolivia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Opuscula Zoologica, 49(1):23-31. DOI:10.18348/opzool.2018.1.23

Grandi G, Menchetti M, Mori E. 2018. Vertical segregation by breeding ring-necked parakeets Psittacula krameri in northern Italy. Urban Ecosystems, 21(5):1011-1017. DOI:10.1007/s11252-018-0779-1

Gómez-Sánchez D, Olalde I, Sastre N, Enseñat C, Carrasco R, Marques-Bonet T, Lalueza-Fox C, Leonard JA, Vilà C, Ramírez O. 2018. On the path to extinction: Inbreeding and admixture in a declining grey wolf population. Molecular Ecology, 27(18):3599-3612. DOI:10.1111/mec.14824

Gilbert KJ, Nitta JH, Talavera G, Pierce NE. 2018. Keeping an eye on coloration: Ecological correlates of the evolution of pitcher traits in the genus Nepenthes (Caryophyllales). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 123(2):321-337. DOI:10.1093/biolinnean/blx142

Espeland M, Breinholt J, Willmott KR, Warren AD, Vila R, Toussaint EFA, Maunsell SC, Aduse-Poku K, Talavera G, Eastwood R, Jarzyna MA, Guralnick R, Lohman DJ, Pierce NE, Kawahara AY. 2018. A Comprehensive and Dated Phylogenomic Analysis of Butterflies. Current Biology, 28(5):770-778. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.061

Dincă V, Székely L. 2018. First record of Scopula orientalis (Alphéraky, 1876) (Lepidoptera, Geometridae) in Romania, at the northern limit of the Balkans. Nota Lepidopterologica, 41(2):189-197. DOI:10.3897/nl.41.24316

Dincă V, Bálint Z, Vodă R, Dapporto L, Hebert PDN, Vila R. 2018. Use of genetic, climatic, and microbiological data to inform reintroduction of a regionally extinct butterfly. Conservation Biology, 32(4):828-837. DOI:10.1111/cobi.13111

Cabrera-Serrano M, Mavillard F, Biancalana V, Rivas E, Morar B, Hernández-Laín A, Olive M, Muelas N, Khan E, Carvajal A, Quiroga P, Diaz-Manera J, Davis M, Ávila R, Domínguez C, Romero NB, Vílchez JJ, Comas D, Laing NG, Laporte J, Kalaydjieva L, Paradas C. 2018. A Roma founder BIN1 mutation causes a novel phenotype of centronuclear myopathy with rigid spine. Neurology, 91(4):e339-e348. DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000005862

Talla V, Suh A, Kalsoom F, Dinca V, Vila R, Friberg M, Wiklund C, Backström N. 2017. Rapid increase in genome size as a consequence of transposable element hyperactivity in wood-white (leptidea) butterflies. Genome Biology and Evolution, 9(10):2491-2505. DOI:10.1093/gbe/evx163

Talavera G, Vila R. 2017. Discovery of mass migration and breeding of the painted lady butterfly Vanessa cardui in the Sub-Sahara: The Europe-Africa migration revisited. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 120(2):274-285. DOI:10.1111/bij.12873

Schär S, Vila R, Petrović A, Tomanović Ž, Pierce NE, Nash DR. 2017. Molecular substitution rate increases with latitude in butterflies: evidence for a trans-glacial latitudinal layering of populations? Ecography, 40(8):930-935. DOI:10.1111/ecog.02487

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