Host plant relationships of an endangered butterfly, Lopinga achine (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in northern Europe:
2013 (English)In: Journal of Insect Conservation, ISSN 1366-638X, E-ISSN 1572-9753, Vol. 17, no 2, 375-383 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The aim of the present study was to evaluate-in a geographic perspective-the role of host plant as a determinant of habitat quality for Lopinga achine, a satyrine butterfly endangered over much of its European range. Laboratory trials were performed to record host choices made by the ovipositing females as well as by neonate larvae. In rearing experiments, growth performance and mortality on different host plants was determined. Oviposition was found to be indiscriminate but larvae were shown to be able to choose between host plants, with the choices made broadly consistent with growth performance of the larvae on particular hosts. Nevertheless, most grasses and sedges offered were found to support larval development reasonably well. No clear superiority of the previously suggested primary host plant Carex montana could be shown. Importantly, no differences in host plant relationships were found between the populations of Sweden, western Estonia and eastern Estonia. In particular, the larvae originating from eastern Estonian populations developed on C. montana equally well even if the plant is absent from their native habitat. In the context of species conservation, one should conclude that L. achine is polyphagous enough on various grasses and sedges so that the presence of any particular host species cannot be a critical component of habitat quality. Nevertheless, some preference to broad- and soft-leaved hosts, as well as sensitivity to host wilting, may partly explain the butterfly's preference to moist forest habitats, further emphasizing the central role of habitat management in the conservation practice of this species. In turn, the absence of ecological differences between geographic populations should enable conservationists to successful transfer their experience across national boundaries.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 17, no 2, 375-383 p.
Lopinga achine, Lepidoptera, Host plant preference, Conservation
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89571DOI: 10.1007/s10841-012-9519-7ISI: 000316335900015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-89571DiVA: diva2:618626