, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 127-135

Edge avoidance and movement of the butterfly Parnassius smintheus in matrix and non-matrix habitat

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Abstract

We experimentally examined edge effects and movement patterns of the butterfly Parnassius smintheus in two habitat types, its preferred meadow habitat, and intervening forest matrix habitat. We followed the movement of 46 butterflies released at either 5 or 20m from a forest edge in either forest or meadow habitat. In contrast to theoretical predictions, we found that butterflies flew less frequently, shorter distances, and at lower rates in matrix habitat than they did in meadow habitat. Distance from the edge had little effect on these aspects of movement. Flight was strongly influenced by light levels with butterflies flying more readily at higher light levels. Light levels were higher in meadows than in forest explaining much of the difference in movement patterns. Turning angles showed that butterflies flying in meadow habitat avoided forest edges and that this effect extended nearly 25 m into meadows. Analysis of net displacement from the forest edge reinforced this result and showed that there may be attraction to the meadow for butterflies flying within forest.