Nymphalidae biogeography

Niklas Wahlberg

The field of biogeography can be divided into two areas: recent biogeography, which investigates why species are distributed where they are presently, and historical biogeography, which investigates how the species got to where they are currently and where their ancestors were found. The study of recent biogeography has much to do with the ecology of species and what environmental factors affect the distributions of species. Historical biogeography uses information about the relationships of species and the current distributions of species to infer ancestral distributions. Such inferences are necessary for understanding the evolutionary history of a group of species, such as the family Nymphalidae. Traditionally, the world has been divided into zoogeographical biomes, illustrated below:

These biomes are visible in Nymphalidae, as each biome has a unique nymphalid fauna, and the biomes share only very few species. Indeed, many genera and even tribes are restricted to certain biomes.