Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 15–25 | Cite as

Mature egg number influences the behavior of femaleBattus philenor butterflies

  • Francois J. Odendaal


Although oviposition behavior of butterflies has been studied extensively, physiological parameters that may affect various aspects of female behavior have been overlooked almost completely. The number of mature eggs carried by a female Battus philenorgreatly affects her behavior at any particular time. Females with many eggs search significantly more for host plants than females with fewer eggs, which tend to rest more. Parameters affecting the number of mature eggs are also studied.

Key words

oviposition behavior reproduction host plant Battus philenor 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barker, J. F., and Herman, W. S. (1973). On the neuroendocrine control of ovarian development in the monarch butterfly.J. Exp. Zool. 183: 1–10.Google Scholar
  2. Barker, J. F., Herman, W. S. (1976). Effect of photoperiod and temperature on reproduction of the monarch butterfly,Danaus plexippus.J. Insect Physiol. 22: 1565–1568.Google Scholar
  3. Chew, F. S. (1977). Coevolution of pierid butterflies and their cruciferous foodplants. II. The distribution of eggs on potential foodplants.Evolution 31: 568–579.Google Scholar
  4. Courtney, S. P. (1981). Coevolution of pierid butterflies and their cruciferous foodplants. III.Anthocaris cardamines (L.) survival, development and oviposition on different hostplants.Oecologia (Berl.) 51: 91–96.Google Scholar
  5. Courtney, S. P., and Duggan, A. E. (1983). The biology of the orange tip butterflyAnthocaris cardamines in Britain.Ecol. Entomol. 8: 271–281.Google Scholar
  6. David, W. A. L., and Gardiner, B. O. C. (1962). Oviposition and the hatching of the eggs ofPieris brassicae (L.) in a laboratory culture.Bull. Entomol. Res. 53: 91–109.Google Scholar
  7. Dunlap-Pianka, H. L. (1979). Ovarian dynamics inHeliconius butterflies: Correlations among daily oviposition rates, egg weights, and quantitative aspects of oogenesis.J. Insect Physiol. 25: 741–749.Google Scholar
  8. Ehrlich, A. H., and Ehrlich, P. R. (1978). Reproductive strategies in the butterflies. I. mating frequency, plugging, and egg number.J. Kans. Entomol. Soc. 51(4): 666–697.Google Scholar
  9. Gossard, T. W., and Jones, R. E. (1977). The effects of age and weather on egg-laying inPieris rapae L.J. Appl. Ecol. 14: 65–71.Google Scholar
  10. Grossmueller, D. W., and Lederhouse, R. C. (1985). Oviposition site selection: An aid to rapid growth and development in the tiger swallowtail butterfly,Papilio glaucus.Oecologia 66: 68–73.Google Scholar
  11. Hayes, J. L. (1981). The population ecology of a natural population of the pierid butterflyColias alexandra.Oecologia 49: 188–200.Google Scholar
  12. Herman, W. S. (1973). The endocrine basis of reproductive inactivity in monarch butterflies over-wintering in central California.J. Insect Physiol. 19: 1883–1887.Google Scholar
  13. Iwasa, Y., Odendaal, F. J., Murphy, D. D., Ehrlich, P. R., and Launer, A. L. (1983). Emergence patterns in male butterflies: A hypothesis and a test.Theor. Pop. Biol. 23: 363–379.Google Scholar
  14. Jones, P. M. (1977). Movement patterns and egg distributions in cabbage butterflies.J. Anim. Ecol. 46: 195–212.Google Scholar
  15. King, R. C., Burnett, R. G., and Staley, N. A. (1957). Oogenesis inDrosophila melanogaster. IV. Hereditary ovarian tumors.Growth 21: 239–261.Google Scholar
  16. Kingsolver, J. G. (1983). Thermoregulation and flight inColias butterflies: Elevational patterns and mechanistic limitations.Ecology 64: 534–545.Google Scholar
  17. Ma, W. G., and Schoonhoven, L. M. (1973). Tarsal contact chemosensory hairs of the large white butterflyPieris brassicae and their possible role in oviposition behavior.Entomol. Exp. Appl. 16: 343–357.Google Scholar
  18. Murphy, D. D., Launer, A., and Ehrlich, P. R. (1983). The role of adult feeding in egg production and population dynamics of the checkerspot butterfly,Euphydryas editha.Oecologia 56: 257–263.Google Scholar
  19. Odendaal, F. J., Rausher, M. D., Benrey, B., and Nunez-Farfan, J. (1987). Predation byAnolis lizards onBattus philenor raises questions about butterfly mimicry systems.J. Lepid. Soc. 41(3) (in press).Google Scholar
  20. Papaj, D. R. (1986). Shifts in foraging behavior by aBattus philenor population: Field evidence for switching by individual butterflies.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. (in press).Google Scholar
  21. Rausher, M. D. (1978). Search image for leaf shape in a butterfly.Science 200: 1071–1073.Google Scholar
  22. Rausher, M. D. (1979). Egg recognition: Its advantage to a butterfly.Anim. Behav. 27: 1034–1040.Google Scholar
  23. Rausher, M. D. (1979b). Larval habitat suitability and oviposition preference in three related butterflies.Ecology 60: 503–511.Google Scholar
  24. Rausher, M. D. (1980). Host abundance, juvenile survival, and oviposition preference inBattus philenor.Evolution 34: 342–355.Google Scholar
  25. Rausher, M. D. (1983). Alteration of oviposition behavior byBattus philenor butterflies in response to variation in host plant density.Ecology 64: 1028–1034.Google Scholar
  26. Rausher, M. D. (1985). Variability for host preference in insect populations: Mechanistic and evolutionary models.J. Insect Physiol. 31(11): 873–889.Google Scholar
  27. Rausher, M. D., and Papaj, D. R. (1983). Host plant selection byBattus philenor butterflies: Evidence for individual differences in foraging behaviour.Anim. Behav. 31: 341–347.Google Scholar
  28. Rausher, M. D., and Odendaal, F. J. (1987). Switching and the pattern of host use byBattus philenor.Ecology 68: 869–877.Google Scholar
  29. Rothschild, M., and Schoonhoven, L. M. (1977). Assessment of egg load byPieris brassicae (Lepidoptera, Pieridae).Nature 266: 352–355.Google Scholar
  30. Shapiro, A. M. (1980). Egg-load assessment and carryover diapause inAnthocaris (Pieridae).J. Lepid. Soc. 34: 307–315.Google Scholar
  31. Singer, M. C. (1971). Evolution of food plant preferences in the butterflyEuphydryas editha.Evolution 25: 383–389.Google Scholar
  32. Singer, M. C. (1982). Quantification of host preference by manipulation of oviposition behavior in the butterflyEuphydryas editha.Oecologia (Berl.) 52: 224–229.Google Scholar
  33. Singer, M. C. (1983). Determinants of multiple host use by a phytophagous insect population.Evolution 37: 389–403.Google Scholar
  34. Stern, V. M., and Smith, R. F. (1960). Factors affecting egg production and oviposition in populations ofColias philodice eurytheme Boisduval (Lepidoptera: Pieridae).Hilgardia 29(10): 411–454.Google Scholar
  35. Streng, D. R., and Harcombe, P. A. (1982). Why don't east Texas savannas grow up to a forest?Am. Midl. Nat. 108: 278–294.Google Scholar
  36. Vogl, R. J. (1972). Fire in the southeastern grasslands.Tall Timbers Fire Ecol. Conf. 12: 175–198.Google Scholar
  37. Watt, W. B., Chew, F. S., Snyder, L. R. G., Watt, A. G., and Rothschild, D. E. (1977). Population structure of Pierid butterflies. I. Numbers and movements of some montaneColias species.Oecologia 27: 1–22.Google Scholar
  38. Wiklund, C. (1975). The evolutionary relationship between adult ovipostion preference and larval host range inPapilio machaon L.Oecologia (Berl.) 18: 185–197.Google Scholar
  39. Williams, K. S. (1983). The coevolution ofEuphydryas chalcedona butterflies and their larval host plants. III. Oviposition behavior and host plant quality.Oecologia (Berl.) 56: 335–340.Google Scholar
  40. Williams, K. S., and Gilbert, L. E. (1981). Insects as selective agents on plant vegetative morphology: Egg mimicry reduces egg laying by butterflies.Science 212: 467–469.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francois J. Odendaal
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentDuke UniversityDurham

Personalised recommendations