Mate acquisition by females in a butterfly: the effects of mating status and age on female mate-locating behaviour
2011 (English)In: Animal Behaviour, ISSN 0003-3472, E-ISSN 1095-8282, Vol. 81, no 1, 225-229 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In most species, female reproductive success is determined by realized fecundity, which depends on the amount of female reproductive reserves and the availability of time for oviposition. Consequently, selection is likely to favour behaviour in virgin females that increases the likelihood of encountering males and thereby minimizing time without sperm. We used the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, to test the hypothesis that virgin females increase the probability of encountering males by behaving more conspicuously. We also tested for an effect of age on behaviour, with the prediction that females behave more conspicuously if they remain unmated for a longer period. To do this we conducted controlled behavioural studies in large outdoor cages, comparing the behaviour of young and old, virgin and mated, females. We also assessed the time it took for a male to discover virgin versus mated females. Our results show an effect of age and mating status: old virgin females behaved more conspicuously than young virgin females and mated females, and spent more time in flight and performed more individual flights. Males also discovered virgin females faster than mated females. Furthermore, virgin females did not specifically locate the large sunspot, where perching males are found. Hence, females of P. aegeria adjust their behaviour in accordance with mating status and age, making them more likely to encounter a male and thereby maximize their reproductive success. This study underlines the importance of taking the distribution and behaviour of receptive females into account when studying mate-locating behaviour.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 81, no 1, 225-229 p.
courtship solicitation, Lepidoptera, life history, Pararge aegeria, sexual selection, speckled wood butterfly, territoriality
Research subject Zoology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54265DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.10.009ISI: 000285412900029OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-54265DiVA: diva2:392527