, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 257–263

The role of adult feeding in egg production and population dynamics of the checkerspot butterfly Euphydryas editha


  • Dennis D. Murphy
    • Department of Biological SciencesStanford University
  • Alan E. Launer
    • Department of Biological SciencesStanford University
  • Paul R. Ehrlich
    • Department of Biological SciencesStanford University
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00379699

Cite this article as:
Murphy, D.D., Launer, A.E. & Ehrlich, P.R. Oecologia (1983) 56: 257. doi:10.1007/BF00379699


Carbohydrate intake increases longevity, body weight maintenance and egg production in female Euphydryas editha. Amino acid intake leads to heavier eggs, larvae from which are more likely to survive. Females fed nectar produce more eggs in later masses than females which are not fed. During years of normal and below normal precipitation, larvae emerging from these later eggs are unlikely to reach obligatory size for diapause before their food dries up. On Jasper Ridge, where mortality is density-independent, nectar plays an important role increasing production of late egg masses during years of greater than normal rainfall when larvae from these masses are likely to reach diapause. The resulting large population increases, though infrequent, are probably important in maintaining population sizes large enough to reduce the chances of extinction during dry years.

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© Springer-Verlag 1983