, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 233-238

The influence of temperature on the territorial and mate locating behaviour of the small heath butterfly, Coenonympha pamphilus (L.) (Lepidoptera: Satyridae)

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Summary

Individual Coenonympha pamphilus males shifted mate locating behaviour depending on temperature. Under low temperature conditions males competed for territories, resulting in a high proportion of potential territories being occupied by stationary males and in long interactions between males in teritories. When temperatures became higher, stationary males tended to leave their territories and travel over a wider area, i.e. become vagrant. This resulted in a low proportion of territories being occupied by stationary males and inshort territorial interactions. Males could stay longer in flight without perching and hence also search a larger area for females within a given time span with increasing temperatures. This may explain why males adopt vagrant behaviour at higher temperatures. Al lower temperatures, on the other hand, when males cannot search effectively for females, waiting for them at a defended territory should be the most successful strategy.