Research Themes

Taxonomy +

Bridging classic taxonomy with modern ecology. Not only classifying and describing diveristy, but asking why we have it, and why we sometimes don't...


Courtship, conflicts and co-operations, you name it. When the sexes interact it's got to be interesting!

Biogeography & Conservation

Why are some species more widespread than others? How and did they get to where they are? Will they survive ongoing climate changes?

Ongoing projects

Click on a project for more info

Taxonomy of Mycalesina

Many shades of brown

Curatorial work

Digging in the archives


Estimating future trends & Building local capacity

Male Genitalia

Shapes & functions

Developmental bias

Influencing evolutionary outcomes


Gain and loss of traits


Collecting & Monitoring

Sex Pheromones

Rapid evolution

Phenotypic plasticity

Dealing with seasonality


  • 2002-2007

    PhD at Lund University

    I started my research career at Lund University in Sweden studying the migration ecology of Red Admirals.

  • 2008

    Getting my boots properly dirty

    After a first visit to Nigeria in 2005 I was determined to get more African field experience. 2008 was largely spent conducting intensive fieldwork for future projects.

  • 2009-2010

    Leiden University

    Supported by a Wenner-Gren Foundation post-doc grant I made use of my African experience in Paul Brakefield's lab focussing on pheromone evolution in Bicyclus butterflies.

  • 2011-2019

    University of Cambridge

    Working in the Radiating Butterflies lab in Cambridge I expanded my research on the Bicyclus system to the larger subtribe Mycalesina.

  • 2019-

    University of Glasgow

    Currently working as a Lecturer of Animal Biology at the University of Glasgow.


Peer-reviewed Publications

Aduse-Poku, K., van Bergen, E., Sáfián, S., Collins, S.C., Etienne R.S., Herrera-Alsina, L., Brakefield, P.M*., Brattström, O*., Lohman, D.J*. & Wahlberg, N*. 2021. Miocene Climate and Habitat Change Drove Diversification in Bicyclus, Africa’s Largest Radiation of Satyrine Butterflies. Systematic Biology, 71(3), 570-588. PDF

Halali, S., Halali, D., Barlow, H.S., Molleman, F., Kodandaramaiah, U., Brakefield, P.M. & Brattström, O. 2021. Predictability of temporal variation in climate and the evolution of seasonal polyphenism in tropical butterfly communities. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 34: 1362–1375. PDF PDF

Halali, S., van Bergen, E., Breuker, C.J., Brakefield, P.M. & Brattström, O. 2021. Seasonal environments favour convergent evolution of a faster pace-of-life in tropical butterflies. Ecology Letters, 24, 102-112. PDF PDF

Brattström, O., Aduse-Poku, K., van Bergen, E., French, V. & Brakefield, P.M. 2020. A release from developmental bias accelerates morphological diversification in butterfly eyespots. PNAS, 117(44), 27474-27480. PDF

Singh, P., van Bergen, E., Brattström, O., Osbaldeston, D., Brakefield, P.M. & Oostra, V. 2020. Complex multi-trait responses to multivariate environmental cues in a seasonal butterfly. Evolutionary Ecology, 34, 713-734. doi: 10.1007/s10682-020-10062-0

Halali, S., Brakefield, P.M., Collins, S.C. & Brattström, O., 2020. To mate, or not to mate: The evolution of reproductive diapause facilitates insect radiation in to African savannahs in the late-Miocene. Journal of Animal Ecology, 89, 1230-1241. PDF

Martin, S.H., Singh, K.S., Gordon, I.J., Omufwoko, K.S., Collins, S.C., Warren, I.J., Munby, H., Brattström, O., Traut, W., Martins, D.J., Smith, D.A.S., Jiggins, C.D., Bass, C. & ffrench-Constant, R.H. 2020. Whole-chromosome hitchhiking driven by a male-killing endosymbiont. PLOS Biology, 18(2): e3000610. PDF

Woronik, A., Tunström, K., Perry, M.W., Neethiraj, R., Stefanescu, C., de la Paz Celorio-Mancera, M., Brattström, O., Hill, J., Lehmann, P., Käkelä, R. & Wheat, C.W. 2019. A transposable element insertion is the switch between alternative life history strategies. Nature Communications, 10:5757. PDF

Warren-Thomas, E., Nelson, L., Juthong, W., Bumrungsri, S., Brattström, O., Stroesser, L., Chambon, B., Penot, E., Tongkaemkaew, U., Edwards, D. & Dolman, P. 2019. Rubber agroforestry in Thailand provides some biodiversity benefits without reducing yields. Journal of Applied Ecology, 57(1), 17-30. PDF

Holzem, M., Braak, Brattström, O., McGregor, A.P. & Breuker, C.J. 2019. Wnt gene expression during early embryogenesis in the nymphalid butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7:468. PDF

Bayliss, J., Brattström, O., Bampton, I. & Collins, S.C. 2019. A new species of Leptomyrina Butler, 1898 (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from Mts Mecula, Namuli, Inago, Nallume and Mabu in Northern Mozambique. Metamorphosis, 30, 19-24. PDF

Sáfián, Sz., Collins, S.C., Belcastro, C., Brattström, O., & Tropek, R. 2019. Description of previously unknown females of three Euriphene Boisduval, 1847 species and the unknown male of Bebearia inepta Hecq, 2001 from Western Africa, with notes on their taxonomy, bionomy, and distribution (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae, Limenitidinae). SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterología, 47(188), 581-591. PDF.

Brattström, O., Shapoval, A., Wassenaar, L.I., Hobson, K.A. & Åkesson, S. 2018. Geographic origin and migration phenology of European red admirals (Vanessa atalanta) as revealed by stable isotopes. BMC Movement Ecology, 6:25. PDF

Balmer, J.A., Brakefield, P.M., Brattström, O., van Bergen, E. 2018. Developmental plasticity for male secondary sexual traits in a group of polyphenic tropical butterflies. Oikos, 127, 1812-1821. PDF

Sahoo, R.J., Lohman, D.J., Wahlberg, N., Müller, C.J., Brattström, O., Collins, S.C., Peggie, D., Aduse-Poku, K. & Kodandaramaiah, U. 2018. Evolution of Hypolimnas butterflies (Nymphalidae): Out-of-Africa origin and Wolbachia-mediated introgression. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 123, 50-58. PDF

Duplouy, A. & Brattström, O. 2018. Wolbachia in the genus Bicyclus: a forgotten player. Microbial Ecology, 75(1), 255-263. PDF

van Bergen, E., Osbaldeston, D., Kodandaramaiah, U., Brattström, O., Aduse-Poku, K. & Brakefield, P.M. 2017. Conserved patterns of integrated developmental plasticity in a group of polyphenic tropical butterflies. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17: 59. PDF

Aduse-Poku, K., Brakefield, P.M., Wahlberg, N. & Brattström, O. 2017. Expanded molecular phylogeny of the genus Bicyclus (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) shows the importance of increased sampling for detecting semi-cryptic species and highlights potentials for future studies. Systematics and Biodiversity, 15(2), 115-130. PDF

Sáfián, S., Pyrcz, T. & Brattström, O. 2016. Two new species of Bebearia Hemming, 1960, as further evience of centre of endemism of butterflies in Western Nigeria (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Limenitinae). Zootaxa, 4175(5), 449-462. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4175.5.3

Bacquet, P.M.B., de Jong, M.A., Brattström, O.,  Wang, H-L., Molleman, F., Heuskin, S., Lognay, G., Löfstedt, C., Brakefield, P.M., Vanderpoorten, A. & Nieberding, C.M. 2016. Differentiation in putative male sex pheromone components across and within populations of the African butterfly Bicyclus anynana as a potential driver of reproductive isolation. Ecology and Evolution, 6(17), 6064-6084. PDF

van Velzen, R., Collins, S.C., Brattström, O.,  & Congdon, T.C.E. 2016. Description of a new Cymothoe Hübner, 1819 from northern Mozambique (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Limenitidinae). Metamorphosis, 27, 34-41. PDF

Aduse-Poku, K., Lees, D.C., Brattström, O., Kodandaramaiah, U., Collins, S.C., Wahlberg, N. & Brakefield, P.M. 2016. Molecular phylogeny and generic-level taxonomy of the widespread palaeotropical 'Heteropsis clade' (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Mycalesina). Systematic Entomology, 41(4), 717-731. PDF

van Bergen, E., Barlow, H., Brattström, O., Griffiths, H., Kodandaramaiah, U., Osborne, C. & Brakefield, P.M. 2016. The stable isotope ecology of mycalesine butterflies: implications for plant-insect co-evolution. Functional Ecology, 30(12), 1936-1946. PDF

Timmermans, M.J., Lees, D.C., Thompson, M.J., Sáfián, S. & Brattström, O. 2016. Mitogenomics of 'Old World Acraea' butterflies reveals a highly divergent 'Bematistes'. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 97, 233-241. PDF

Brattström, O., Aduse-Poku, K., Collins, S.C., Di Micco de Santo, T. & Brakefield, P.M. 2016. Revision of the Bicyclus sciathis species group (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) with descriptions of four new species and corrected distributional records. Systematic Entomology, 41(1), 207-228. PDF

Brattström, O., Aduse-Poku, K., Collins, S.C. & Brakefield, P.M. 2015. Revision of the Bicyclus ignobilis species-group (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) with descriptions of two new species. Zootaxa, 4018(1), 57-79. PDF

Aduse-Poku, K., Brattström, O., Kodandaramaiah, U., Lees, D.C., Brakefield, P.M. & Wahlberg, N. 2015. Systematics and historical biogeography of the Old World butterfly subtribe Mycalesina (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae). BMC Evolutionary Biology, 15: 167. PDF

Tropek, R., Leština, D., Janšta, P., Brattström, O., Espeland, M. & Sáfián, Sz. 2015. First records of Hypolycaena anara  Larsen, 1986 from Cameroon (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterología, 43(170), 235-239. PDF

Bacquet, P.M.B*., Brattström, O*.,  Wang, H-L., Allen, C.E., Löfstedt, C., Brakefield, P.M. & Nieberding, C.M. 2015. Selection on male sex pheromone composition contributes to butterfly reproductive isolation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 282: 20142734. (* co-first authors) PDF PDF

Hedenström, E., Wallin, E.A., Andersson, J., Bång, J., Wang, H-L, Löfstedt, C., Brattström, O. & Bacquet, P.M.B. 2015. Stereoisomeric Analysis of 6,10,14-Trimethylpentadecan-2-ol and the Corresponding Ketone in Wing Extracts from African Bicyclus Butterfly Species. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 41(1), 44-51. PDF PDF

Brattström, O., Mey, W., de Vos, R. & P.M. Brakefield. 2014. A century old mistake set right, the identities of Mydosama marginata and Mydosama pitana pinned down. Tropical Lepidoptera Research, 24(2), 96-101. PDF

Wang, H-L., Brattström, O., Brakefield, P.M., Francke, W. & Löfstedt, C. 2014. Identification and biosynthesis of novel male specific esters in the wings of the tropical butterfly, Bicyclus martius sanaos. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 40(6), 549-559. PDF PDF

Oostra, V., Brakefield, P.M., Hiltemann, Y., Zwaan, B.J. & Brattström, O. 2014. On the fate of seasonally plastic traits in a rainforest butterfly under relaxed selection. Ecology and Evolution, 4(13), 2654-2667. PDF

Brattström, O. 2012. Bicyclus brakefieldi (Nymphalidae, Satyrinae), a new species of Bicyclus from the Congo River basin. Tropical Lepidoptera, 22, 62-65. PDF

Nazari, V., Larsen, T.B., Lees, D.C., Brattström, O., Bouyer, T., Van de Poel, G. & Hebert, P.D.N. 2011. Phylogenetic systematics of Colotis and associated genera (Lepidoptera: Pieridae): evolutionary and taxonomic implications. Journal of Systematic Evolutionary Research, 49, 204-215. PDF

Brattström, O., Åkesson, S. & Bensch, S. 2010. AFLP reveals cryptic population structure in European red admirals (Vanessa atalanta). Ecological Entomology, 35, 248-252. PDF

Brattström, O., Bensch, S., Wassenaar, L.I., Hobson, K.A. & Åkesson, S. 2010. Understanding migration ecology of European red admirals (Vanessa atalanta) using stable hydrogen isotopes. Ecography, 33, 720-729. PDF

Brattström, O., Wassenaar, L. I., Hobson, K. A. & Åkesson, S. 2008. Placing butterflies on the map – testing the regional geographical resolution of three stable isotopes in Sweden using a monofagus Nymphalid, the Peacock (Inachis io). Ecography, 31, 490-498. PDF

Brattström, O., Kjellén, N., Alerstam, T. & Åkesson, S. 2008. Effects of wind and weather on red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) migration at a coastal site in southern Sweden. Animal Behaviour, 76, 335-344. PDF

Brattström, O. 2006. Is there seasonal variation in size and mass of Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta on Capri, Italy? Ornis Svecica. 16, 69-73. PDF


Other Publications

Brattström, O. 2010. Butterflies at Sapo National Park. Report for Liberia Forestry Development Authority and FFI International. PDF

Brattström, O. 2010. Butterflies of Yankari. Report for APLORI/Bauchi State Nigeria. PDF

Brattström, O. 2009. Butterflies at Afi Mountains Wildlife Sanctuary. Report for Cross River State Forestry Commission. PDF

Brattström, O. 2009. Butterflies in Ologbo Forest. Report for Presco Plc, Nigeria. PDF

Brattström, O. 2008. Results from a butterfly survey around Bashu, Southern Okwangwo Division of Cross River National Park, Nigeria. Report for Cross River State Forestry Commission. PDF

Brattström, O. 2007. Ecology of red admiral migration. Doctoral thesis, Lund University, Sweden. (ISBN: 978-91-7105-259-9). PDF


Nigerian Butterflies – Free Electronic Field Guides

Nigerian Butterflies is a new series of electronic field guides for mobile phones and tablets, aimed at amateurs and experienced naturalists alike. The guides are free to download and use, but please do not re-distribute them yourself, instead ask other interested users to download them directly from this webpage. That way I can make sure everyone get the latest version. If downloading a guide for the first time please send an email to to join the mailing list and get notifed of updates and future releases.

If you have not used the guides before, start by downloading the User Guide & Information PDF

1 - Family Papilionidae (Swallowtails & Swordtails) | 2020-December-02 (version 1.0)

PDF (Recommended format!) PDF (Desktop friendly)PDF (Version history)

2 - Family Pieridae (Whites & Sulphurs) | 2022-December-20 (version 1.2)

PDF (Recommended format!) PDF (Desktop friendly)PDF (Version history)

3.1 - Family Lycaenidae – Tribe Lycaenesthini (Ciliate Blues) | 2021-July-22 (version 1.0)

PDF (Recommended format!) PDF (Desktop friendly)PDF (Version history)

3.2 - Family Lycaenidae – Tribe Polyommatini (Weak Blues) | 2021-January-10 (version 1.0)

PDF (Recommended format!) PDF (Desktop friendly)PDF (Version history)

4 - Family Nymphalidae – Subfamily Nymphalinae (True Nymphalids) | 2021-February-02 (version 1.0)

PDF (Recommended format!) PDF (Desktop friendly)PDF (Version history)

Other resources

Bicyclus anynana - image pack: High resolution photos of the dry and wet season morphs of Bicyclus anynana. Primarily aimed for scientific presentations, papers and press releases. These images are freely available for non-commercial use. For ANY other use you must first contact me for approval! Details about the photographs and how to properly acknowledge the photographers are provided in the pack.

Amurum Butterflies - Field guide: This field guide was developed to be used by students at A.P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI) and therefore covers only those species known to occur in Amurum Forest Reserve (located next to APLORI). It can still be used as a first ID guide for someone interested in Nigerian savannah butterflies in general. PDF

Friends & Collaborators

Vicencio Oostra

Adaptation & Plasticity

Anne Duplouy

Evolution of symbionts

Ulf Ottosson

African field ecology

Niklas Wahlberg

Lepidoptera phylogenetics

Marjo Saastamoinen

Life-history evolution

Christopher Wheat

Ecological genomics

Christer Löfstedt

Chemical Ecology

Hong-Lei Wang

Chemical Ecology

Hugo A. Benítez

Morphological diversification