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Rapoport’s Rule Explains the Range Size Distribution of Butterflies Along the Eastern Himalayan Elevation Gradient

Sailendra Dewan, Bhoj Kumar Acharya

BioTropica |  March 26, 2024

In this study, we examined the elevational range size distribution of butterflies in the Eastern Himalaya, and assessed the applicability of Rapoport’s rule using different approaches, which perhaps is the first of its kind in the Himalaya. We sampled butterflies along the elevational gradient of 16 elevational bands (300–3300 m) using point count method along the transect. The sampled butterflies were grouped into various sub-groups based on family, biogeographic affinity, and larval feeding pattern. We found that the majority of the butterfly species (total as well as sub-groups) had small range sizes, and their elevational range distribution showed support for the Rapoport’s rule.