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Putting more eggs in the best basket: clutch size regulation in the comma butterfly
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6379-7905
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4195-8920
2006 (English)In: Ecological Entomology, ISSN 0307-6946, Vol. 31, no 3, 255-260 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. Many studies have identified different factors influencing clutchsize regulation, primarily within various groups of insects. One prediction is that ovipositing females should increase clutch size with host quality. However, in many studies it is not clear whether ovipositing females are responding to host quality or quantity.

2. Females of the polyphagous comma butterfly, allowed to oviposit on two hosts differing greatly in quality: the preferred host, stinging nettle (Polygonia c-album (L.), wereUrtica dioica L.), and the low-ranked host, birch (Betula pubescens  Ehrh). Ovipositing females were observed visually and clutch sizes were recorded. The experiment was repeated in three different years; in total, 938 observations of oviposition events were made.

3. In all three years, females ovipositing on (median 1.6–1.85) compared with females ovipositing on 1.0–1.3) three years were pooled.

4. Thus, on better hosts. It is suggested that the proximate mechanism is likely to be a response to the same stimuli used for female ranking of host plants in the preference hierarchy. U. dioica laid larger clutchesB. pubescens (median. The difference was significant in two out of three years and when allP. c-album females exhibit clutch-size regulation, with larger clutches

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 31, no 3, 255-260 p.
Keyword [en]
Batches, host quality, life history, performance, preference, reproductive
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23569DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2006.00782.xOAI: diva2:192861
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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Janz, NiklasNylin, Sören
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