, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 543-552
Date: 06 Jan 2010

Dispersal of four fritillary butterflies within identical landscape

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Abstract

Both species-specific traits and landscape configuration, such as area and connectivity of habitat patches plus the character of uninhabitable matrix, affect animal movements in fragmented landscapes. Difficulties with disentangling species-specific and landscape effects have obscured comparisons among species, hindering the understanding of dispersal in metapopulations. To circumvent this complication, we performed a mark–recapture study of four related nymphalid butterflies within identical landscape and in single season. The studied species were three Melitaeinae checkerspots (Euphydryas aurinia, Melitaea athalia, Melitaea diamina) and one Argynnini fritillary (Brenthis ino). Applying the Virtual Migration model revealed that (1) except for mortality within habitat, model parameters differed from those found for the studied species elsewhere; (2) the three Melitaeinae species were more akin in movement parameters than the Argynnini representative (i.e., B. ino); (3) within Melitaeinae, differences between sexes were more prominent than differences among species; (4) Melitaeinae males left natal patches more readily than females, while the opposite applied to B. ino; (5) males of M. diamina and both sexes of B. ino exhibited highest values of dispersal mortality; (6) except for females of M. diamina and both sexes of B. ino, immigration and emigration scaled with area in females but not in males. Finding (1) demonstrates that geometry of habitat network affects mobility considerably and that transferring dispersal parameters across systems is unwarranted. Still, (2–6) demonstrate that within identical networks, related species follow similar dispersal patterns, suggesting that conservation scenarios suitable for a well-studied model species would suite related species as well.