Why are there so many different butterflies?
How did they evolve?
Is climate change affecting them?
How do butterflies colonize islands?
Are there species that look the same?
These are some of the questions we try to answer in our research.
Above all, we are passionate about butterflies, exploration & science!
Join our lab!
Welcome to 
Roger Vila’s Lab
Highlighted Papers:

Are you a student or researcher and would like to join us in our adventures? Do not hesitate to send me an e-mail (roger.vila@csic.es).

New video following the extraordinary trip of the butterfly Vanessa cardui from Northern Europe to the tropical savannah!

Spanish and Catalan version

Would you like to know how we work?

See the video and find it out!

Vila, R., Stefanescu, C. & Sesma, J.M. (2018) Guia de les papallones diürnes de Catalunya. Lynx Edicions, Bellaterra, 508 pages. 

Check out our new website of the Worldwide Painted Lady Migration Project.

Follow us on

Talavera G, Lukhtanov V, Pierce NE, Vila R (2022) DNA barcodes combined with multi-locus data of representative taxa can generate reliable higher-level phylogenies. Systematic Biology71(2): 382-395. DOI: 10.1093/sysbio/syab038    

Check out the new cover at Systematic Biology! A great photo by our colleague Vlad Dinca

Mackintosh A, Vila R, Laetsch DR, Hayward A, Martin SH, Lohse K (2023) Chromosome fissions and fusions act as barriers to gene flow between Brenthis fritillary butterflies. Molecular Biology and Evolution 40(39): msad043. https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msad043 

Shipilina D, Näsvall K, Höök L, Vila R, Talavera G, Backström N (2022) Linkage mapping and genome annotation give novel insights into gene family expansions and regional recombination rate variation in the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly. Genomics 114 (published online ahead of print). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygeno.2022.110481

García-Berro A, Talla V, Vila R, Wai HK, Shipilina D, Chan KG, Pierce NE, Backström N, Talavera G (2022) Migratory behaviour is positively associated with genetic diversity in butterflies. Molecular Ecology (published online ahead of print) https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16770

Parmentier L, Vila R, Lukhtanov V (2022) Integrative analysis reveals cryptic speciation linked to habitat differentiation within Albanian populations of the anomalous blues (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae, Polyommatus Latreille, 1804). Comparative Cytogenetics 16(4): 211-242. https://doi.org/10.3897/compcytogen.v16.i4.90558 

2022 was a great year for butterfly genomics! We have contributed 9 new reference genomes. 

Thanks to Konrad Lohse’s Lab, Alex Hayward, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Darwin Tree of Life and other colleagues for the great collaboration!

Menchetti M, Schifani E, Alicata A, Vila R (2023) Quantitative morphology and mtDNA reveal that Lasius maltaeus is not endemic to the Maltese Islands (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 95: 129-142. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.95.96365 

Hinojosa JC, Montiel-Pantoja C, Sanjurjo-Franch M, Martínez-Pérez I, Lee KM, Mutanen M, Vila R (2023) Diversification linked to larval host plant in the butterfly Eumedonia eumedon. Molecular Ecology 32, 182-197. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16728 (Featured in the journal cover)

TalaveraG, Garcia-BerroA, TallaVNK, Ng’iruI, BahlemanF, KébéK, NzalaKM, PlasenciaD, MarafiMAJ, KassieA, GoudegnonE, KikiM, BenyaminiD, ReichMS, López-MañasR, BenetelloF, CollinsS, BatailleCP, PierceNE, MartinsDJ, SuchanT, MenchettiM, Vila R (2023) The Afrotropical breeding grounds of the Palearctic-African migratory Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120 (16): e2218280120. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2218280120 

We have contributed to the most complete butterfly phylogeny done so far! Kawahara AY, Storer C, Carvalho APS, Plotkin DM, (…) Talavera G, Vila R (75/88), (…) Pierce NE, Lohman DJ (2023) A comprehensive phylogeny of butterflies reveals their ancestral hostplant and biogeographic origin. Nature Ecology and Evolution 7: 903-913. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-023-02041-9

Menchetti M, Schifani E, Alicata A, Cardador L, Sbrega E, Toro-Delgado E, Vila R (2023). The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is established in Europe. Current Biology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2023.07.036

Eric Toro obtained FPU scholarship for his thesis project “Occurrence and Effects of Wolbachia in Butterflies”.

Pep Lancho obtained PRE2023 scholarship and started his PhD on the project “Investigating butterfly diversity and adaptation through genomics”.



Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF)

Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta 37

08003 Barcelona, Spain

Tel: (+34) 93 230 96 46

Fax: (+34) 93 221 10 11

e-mail: roger.vila@csic.es

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