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Nymphalidae

Frivolous insects, or model organisms?

Niklas Wahlberg


Please note, these pages are under construction!

Vanessa cardui The family Nymphalidae is the most speciose family of butterflies with about 6000 described species so far. The family contains many well-known species, such as the monarch, the Painted Lady, the buckeye, the fritillaries, checkerspots and the electric blue morphos. Indeed, nymphalids are in many places the most visible members of the local butterfly fauna. Due to their visibility and ease of study in the field and lab, many species of nymphalids have been used as model systems to understand the complexity of life on this planet. By studying the numbers of species, their relationships, their evolutionary history and their interactions with other organisms, we are better able to appreciate just how multifaceted Nature is. Hopefully we can use this knowledge to keep our planet a livable place, for humans as well as the multitude of other organisms we share the Earth with!

Hipparchia semele This web site aims to gather all relevant information on Nymphalidae evolution and ecology. The web site is organised like a book, but gets rid of the rigidity of books, which are final products with often out-dated information when published. This is of course precisely the purpose of the world wide web, but the power of the book is still strong among scientists. Another advantage is that there is no size limit and the amount of information can be parcelled in a manner which allows everybody to find what they want to know about these splendid butterflies.

The web site can be navigated by using the buttons to the left. The main content of this site is under "About Nymphalidae". Most of the content is scientific in format, but for interested laymen, the section "General Information" gives an overview of our knowledge of Nymphalidae in more palatable terms.