Manerebia nevada

Prieto, Carlos, 2011, The genus Micandra Staudinger (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Theclinae) in Colombia, with the description of a new species from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Zootaxa 3040, pp. 55-68: 66

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.278794


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scientific name

Manerebia nevada


The Sierra Nevada   de Santa Marta and its butterflies

The Sierra Nevada   of Santa Marta lies in northern Colombia between 10 ° 01’05’’ and 11 ° 20 ’ 11 ’’ N and 72 ° 36 ’ 16 ’’ and 74 ° 12 ’ 49 ’’ E in the extreme northwestern portion of South America. It is a unique range isolated from the main stem of the Andes. It is shaped like a trihedron, with the sides of the base 130 to 160 km long and its apex the 5775 m high summit of Pico Cristóbal Colón, the highest point in Colombia, slightly north and west of the center. The summit is only 45 km from the Caribbean Sea coast to its north. The distribution of rain follows a bimodal pattern, with rainfall peaks between September and December and May and July. There are two dry periods, one between January and April and the other July and August. Average rainfall is higher on the north slope, where it can reach 3000 mm per year at elevations between 1000 and 1500 m, decreasing at higher elevations.

To the south there are 130 km of flood-plains between the Sierra Nevada   and the Central Andean Cordillera, and the Sierra Nevada   is separated from the Eastern Cordillera to its east and southeast by the low valleys of the Rancheria and Cesar, and by the saddle which separates the two valleys and which drops to 350 m. The nearest points on the 2000 m contours of the Sierra Nevada   and the Andes are 62 km apart, and the nearest 4000 m contour is 353 km away in the Venezuelan Cordillera de Mérida ( Adams 1973). The Sierra Nevada   de Santa Marta can, without doubt, be validly treated as a continental island, and it is considered the 5 th most prominent mountain in the world.

The Sierra Nevada   was a favorable habitat for thousands of species and many of them presumably evolved in isolation. This would explain the high percentage of endemics, reaching near 5 % of the known species of plants and animals over 1000 m. Sixteen of the nearly 600 bird species are endemic to the Sierra Nevada   , 12 of the 46 amphibian and reptile species are endemics, and 100 % endemism is found in these two groups above 3000 m elevation. The entire formation rose several kilometers during the Miocene and Upper Pleistocene ( Bartels 1984). Thus, it is considered an important Pleistocene refuge, although diversity is limited in comparison with other ecoregions in the Neotropics. The high cloud forests have elements common to the tropical Andean and the high forests of the Caribbean. Also of note is an altitudinal depression with biotic zones and temperate level elements that can descend to lower altitude zones ( Hernández et al. 1992; Lozano 1984).

During mapping expeditions for the Colombian Government in the 1870 s and 1880 s, Simons sent specimens of 80 butterfly species, mostly obtained in the southern and south-eastern Sierra Nevada   , to Godman and Salvin. In another exploration of 1901, Engelke made a good collection in the northwestern Sierra Nevada   de Santa Marta ( Adams 1973). Between August and October 1919 and July and October 1925, Eugen Krüger collected in the northern and southeastern Sierra Nevada   discovering several endemic new species, principally of the subtribe Pronophilina   ( Satyrinae   ), including Paramo oculata (Krüger)   Lymanopoda nevada (Krüger)   and Manerebia nevada (Krüger) ( Pyrcz 2004)   . The most extensive survey of butterflies in the Sierra Nevada   de Santa Marta was conducted by Adams and Bernard in the 1970 s ( Adams 1973; Adams & Bernard 1977). Their study was the first in any field to cover all the zones of the Sierra, and some of the zones themselves are classified and described in Adams (1973) for the first time. Other explorers visited only small areas in the north and northwest portions of the range making collections of butterflies. Although there is no complete inventory of the butterflies of the Sierra Nevada   , preliminary data suggest at least 501 butterfly species from the massif ( Adams 1973).