Females of the specialist butterfly Euphydryas aurinia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalinae: Melitaeini) select the greenest leaves of Lonicera implexa (Caprifoliaceae) for oviposition

Constantí Stefanescu, Josep Peñuelas, Jordi Sardans, Iolanda Filella

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In Mediterranean habitats, the specialist butterfly Euphydryas aurinia oviposits on Lonicera implexa. Previous work has shown that ovipositing females select and lay a higher number of egg clusters on certain plants. In this paper the results of a field study aimed at assessing whether females use plant size and/or plant or leaf greenness (i.e., chlorophyll concentrations) as cues for oviposition are described. Size of plants did not appear to be an important factor in determining host plant selection, probably because even small plants provide enough resources for the young larvae to reach the diapausing stage and because last instar larvae, the most likely to face resource depletion, can move great distances in search of food. Measurements of both spectral reflectance and chlorophyll concentration of plants failed to reveal differences between host and non-host plants. On the other hand, reflectance and chlorophyll concentration of leaves were found to be important in oviposition choice as egg clusters were generally located on the greenest leaves with the highest chlorophyll contents. This suggests that females use visual cues to select the leaves that will provide optimal growth opportunities for newly hatched larvae. Although there was some indication that plants receiving a greater number of egg clusters also had more leaves of high chlorophyll content, multiple egg batches on single plants could also be a consequence of females being attracted by the presence of conspecific egg clusters. © 2003 Institute of Entomology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)569-574
    JournalEuropean Journal of Entomology
    Volume103
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

    Keywords

    • Euphydryas aurinia
    • Foliar chlorophyll concentration
    • Insect-plant interaction
    • Lepidoptera
    • Lonicera implexa
    • Mediterranean area
    • Nymphalinae
    • Oviposition cues
    • Plant size
    • Spectral reflectance

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