Bolivia's Madidi National Park is home to at least 1,500 butterfly species, based on an ongoing survey of the region and related studies.
The park is now believed to contain more different types of butterflies than any other protected area on the planet. To put its biodiversity into perspective, consider that there are only 725 butterfly species in the entire United States and Canada combined. Madidi National Park is just the size of New Jersey.
Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and partnering institutions still have months of fieldwork ahead, but they have already identified 950 species of butterflies and 130 subspecies in Madidi. The number 1,500 is just a conservative estimate, and is expected to go up once species that enter the region from adjacent areas of Peru are taken into account.
As for why the park is such a butterfly paradise, WCS Madidi landscape director Robert Wallace told Discovery News, "Madidi is the only park in the world with an almost 6,000 meter (19,685 foot) altitudinal range." This provides an incredible number of diverse protected microclimates.
He added that the park also "bridges the tropical Andes and the Amazon, which are the two most biologically diverse regions on earth."
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