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Frequency dependence of host plant choice within and between patches: a large cage experiment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6379-7905
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2005 (English)In: Evolutionary Ecology, ISSN 0269-7653, E-ISSN 1573-8477, Vol. 19, no 3, 289-302 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Oviposition preference is considered to be one of the most important factors behind patterns of host use among herbivorous insects. However, preference is defined as host plant choice under equal host abundance and availability, and it is likely that frequency-dependent effects will alter the actual pattern of host use beyond what preference trials reveals. The effects of such alterations are poorly known but could be important for the understanding of specialization and host shifts. We investigated how changes in frequency of a preferred and a less preferred host affected movement patterns and egg deposition within and among patches in a polyphagous butterfly, Polygonia c-album. Two experiments were carried out in large (8 × 30 m) outdoor cages, artificially divided into distinct patches with different frequencies of the two hosts: one that allowed for limited movement between patches and one that did not. There was a clear effect of frequency on patch selection; females spent more time in and laid more eggs in patches with a high frequency of the preferred host, which will potentially have a large effect on host use by modifying encounter rates in favor of the preferred host. However, there was no significant frequency-dependent plant choice within patches in any experiment. Instead, results indicate that females are distributing their eggs among plants species according to specific likelihoods of oviposition, independent of encounter rates, which is compatible with a strategy of risk-spreading.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer , 2005. Vol. 19, no 3, 289-302 p.
Keyword [en]
bet-hedging - habitat selection - host range - host use - oviposition preference - specialization
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23565DOI: 10.1007/s10682-005-6078-3OAI: diva2:192857
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Oviposition strategies in butterflies and consequences for conservation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Oviposition strategies in butterflies and consequences for conservation
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Oviposition strategies are an important component of life history evolution in insects. Oviposition is a complex behaviour, where females must locate suitable habitat patches, locate oviposition sites, evaluate the quality, and finally decide how many eggs to lay. In this thesis, I explore some factors that may influence oviposition strategies in female butterflies. It discusses oviposition strategies from large to fine scales and ends with a discussion on implications for conservation. In paper I we tested for local adaptations in oviposition preference and larval performance in Polyommatus icarus. The result suggests that this species is evolutionary conservative in its utilization of the tested host plants. In the second paper we investigated frequency-dependent host plant choice in Polygonia c-album and showed that females spent significantly more time, and laid more eggs, in patches with high frequency of the preferred host. The influence of nectar sources on host plant choice in P. icarus was tested in paper III, females preferred ovipositing on host plants with flowers and after feeding. In paper IV we investigated oviposition “mistakes” in P. c-album and found differences in discrimination of hosts and non-hosts. Further, we showed that P. c-album butterflies are capable of responding to host quality by increasing clutch sizes on a high ranked host (paper V). Finally, in paper VI I explored how female oviposition behaviour can influence habitat management for a threatened butterfly species, Parnassius mnemosyne, by doing an observational field study on oviposition site preferences. This thesis highlights oviposition as a stepwise process and show that female discrimination is important at a multitude of levels with implications for oviposition strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Zoologiska institutionen, 2005. 30 p.
National Category
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354 (URN)91-7155-011-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-02-25, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03Bibliographically approved

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