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Contest outcome in a territorial butterfly: the role of motivation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7303-5632
2010 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 277, no 1696, 3027-3033 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In many butterfly species, males compete over areas advantageous for encountering females. Rules for contest settlement are, however, largely unknown and neither morphological nor physiological traits can reliably predict the contest outcome. Here, we test the hypothesis that contests are settled in accordance with a motivation asymmetry. We staged contests between males of Pararge aegeria and after removing the resident, the non-resident was allowed (i) either to interact with a non-receptive female for 30 min (n = 30) or (ii) to spend 30 min alone in the cage (n = 30), after which the initial resident was reintroduced. The results show that males that had interacted with a female had a higher probability of becoming dominant and reversing contest outcome. Moreover, males that were faster to take over a vacant territory when the resident was removed were more likely to become dominant. Here, we show for the first time, to our knowledge, that frequent encounters with a mated female can increase male motivation to persist in a territorial contest in a butterfly. Further, we suggest that variation in intrinsic motivation reflects male eagerness to take over vacant territory. This study indicates that variation in resource value and motivational asymmetries are important for settling contests in butterflies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 277, no 1696, 3027-3033 p.
Keyword [en]
sexual selection, Lepidoptera, mate locating behaviour, loser effect, resource-holding potential
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-49448DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0646ISI: 000281312400018OAI: diva2:379179
authorCount :3Available from: 2010-12-17 Created: 2010-12-14 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The evolution of territoriality in butterflies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The evolution of territoriality in butterflies
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Competition over mating opportunities is a conspicuous characteristic of animal behaviour. In many butterfly species the males establish territories in places advantageous for encountering females. This thesis addresses questions about how territoriality has evolved and is maintained in butterflies. The studies have been conducted using the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, as a model species. Males of P. aegeria are found in sunspots on the forest floor (paper I-V), on the lookout for females visiting the sunspots. However, males are only found in sunspots above a certain size (paper III). This behavior is maintained by a mating success advantage, where using large sunspots instead of small sunspots as perching areas generates a higher reproductive output (paper I). The mating success asymmetry is not explained by female choice or by a female preference for large sunspots per se (paper I, V), but rather the large sunspot facilitates visual performance of perching males and improves flight pursuit and interception of females (paper III). Winners of territorial contests gain sole ownership of large sunspot territories, while losers search for a new suitable sunspot territory (paper I, II & IV) or use smaller, suboptimal sunspots as perching sites (paper II). Territorial contests between P. aegeria males are not settled due to an obvious morphological/physiological asymmetry (paper I). Rather, variation in resource value and motivational asymmetries are important for settling contests (paper IV). A majority of male-female interactions (paper V) and matings (paper I) are initiated by a perching male detecting and intercepting a flying female. Furthermore, females can affect their chances of being detected by a perching male by behaving more conspicuously (paper V). This thesis highlights the role of female behaviour, variation in resource value and motivation asymmetries to understand the evolution of territoriality in butterflies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2011. 27 p.
territoriality, Lepidoptera, sexual selection, mating success, mate locating behaviour, resource-holding potential, motivation, courtship solicitation
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54668 (URN)978-91-7447-182-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-03-18, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2011-02-25 Created: 2011-02-10 Last updated: 2011-02-17Bibliographically approved

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Bergman, MartinOlofsson, MartinWiklund, Christer
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