, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 296-300

The contributions of larval growth and pupal duration to protandry in the black swallowtail butterfly, Papilio polyxenes

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Shorter male larval and pupal durations were sufficient to produce the protandrous emergence pattern of the black swallowtail butterfly. In 9 broods observed under natural conditions, the first male was seen 7.1±6.5 days before the first female, although the peak of captures relative to the first capture was similar in both sexes. The field data supported only weakly the predictions of the Wiklund-Fagerstrom model for protandry. Some prereproductive period was necessary for males, and they were limited in how frequently they could mate. A third of the females mated more than once.

Males were significantly smaller in size and weight than females in both diapausing and non-diapausing broods. Feeding experiments indicated that male larvae ate less and converted their food into biomass more efficiently than females. Female pupae contained higher proportions of fat and protein than male pupae. Differential body composition may be involved in sexual dimorphism differences in both larval and pual developmental rates. Thus, in addition to size, chemical differences in composition or metabolism may contribute to the observed natural protandry.