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Oviposition strategies in butterflies and consequences for conservation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
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
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354ISBN: 91-7155-011-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-354DiVA: diva2:192862
Public defence
2005-02-25, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Conservative resource utilization in the common blue butterfly - evidence for low costs of accepting absent host plants?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conservative resource utilization in the common blue butterfly - evidence for low costs of accepting absent host plants?
2004 In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, Vol. 107, no 2, 345-351 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23564 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03Bibliographically approved
2. Frequency dependence of host plant choice within and between patches: a large cage experiment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Frequency dependence of host plant choice within and between patches: a large cage experiment
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
Keyword
bet-hedging - habitat selection - host range - host use - oviposition preference - specialization
National Category
Zoology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23565 (URN)10.1007/s10682-005-6078-3 (DOI)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
3. The role of nectar sources for oviposition decisions of the common blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of nectar sources for oviposition decisions of the common blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus)
2005 (English)In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 109, 535-538 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Neural limitations on information processing have been shown to play an important role for host plant specialization in herbivorous insects. The necessity of fast and accurate decisions favors the adoption of a few high-contrast signals, which selects against the use of multiple resources. Many species face a similar problem when searching for adult food sources and the simultaneous need to fulfill both search tasks can lead to a potential conflict. Some insects use the same host plant species for both adult and larval nutrition, which makes it possible to decrease the number of search images and thus potentially increase efficiency of the choices. The aim of this study was to investigate if there is a connection between choice of nectar sources and choice of oviposition host plant. In a laboratory experiment, females of Polyommatus icarus preferred to oviposit on Lotus corniculatus plants with flowers over those without flowers. Observations of behavioral sequences also revealed that oviposition often followed immediately after nectaring. The results suggest that nectar availability could play an important role in oviposition decisions of P. icarus and can provide one explanation to why some phytophagous insects not always choose the host plant that gives the best offspring performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2005
National Category
Microbiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23566 (URN)10.1111/j.0030-1299.2005.13817.x (DOI)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
4. Butterfly host plant choice in the face of possible confusion
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Butterfly host plant choice in the face of possible confusion
2000 In: Journal of Insect Behavior, ISSN 0892-7553, Vol. 13, no 4, 469-482 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23567 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03Bibliographically approved
5. Oviposition site preferences of the threatened butterfly Parnassius mnemosyne: implications for conservation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Oviposition site preferences of the threatened butterfly Parnassius mnemosyne: implications for conservation
2005 (English)In: Journal of Insect Conservation, ISSN 1366-638X, E-ISSN 1572-9753, Vol. 9, no 1, 21-27 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent studies on the threatened clouded apollo butterfly, Parnassius mnemosyne, have identified suitable habitats on a large scale. More detailed knowledge on specific habitat requirements of ovipositing females is still needed. Some earlier observations suggest that females just drop their eggs without discrimination. This study suggests that females can be rather choosy in their oviposition site selection and that they actively search for oviposition sites with suitable vegetation structure. By identifying factors influencing female oviposition, such as distance to shrub, valuable knowledge is generated for restoration plans considered in the study area. This stresses the importance of proper management of extant habitats in order to prevent local extinctions of P. mnemosyne and it also highlights the need for data on specific oviposition requirements in butterfly conservation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2005
Keyword
Butterfly conservation - Habitat requirements - Management - Microhabitat - Vegetation structure
National Category
Zoology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23568 (URN)10.1007/s10841-004-3204-4 (DOI)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03 Last updated: 2010-12-08Bibliographically approved
6. Putting more eggs in the best basket: clutch size regulation in the comma butterfly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Putting more eggs in the best basket: clutch size regulation in the comma butterfly
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

Keyword
Batches, host quality, life history, performance, preference, reproductive
Research subject
Zoology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23569 (URN)10.1111/j.1365-2311.2006.00782.x (DOI)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-354Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

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