Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 179–196 | Cite as

Complex Non-Aerial Contests in the Lekking Butterfly Charis cadytis (Riodinidae)

  • Gabriela W. Chaves
  • Claudio E. G. Patto
  • Woodruff W. Benson

Lekking butterflies typically defend territories using acrobatic aerial pursuits. Focal-method observations on marked Charis cadytis in SE Brazil revealed an unusual lek organization in which contest males disputed small core areas, whereas non-combative satellite males perched just outside their borders. Territorial interactions commonly began with two adversaries facing one another in a slow, non-contact ascending flight seemingly related to assessment. In disputes that continued, rival males perched on leaves where they engaged in one or more pushing bouts separated by short pursuits. In these sumo-like contests, obliquely facing males pushed their partially opened wings against one another until one was tilted sideways and flew off. Contest structure may be controlled by intruders that, by perching, provoke low-intensity contests that help prolong their stay in high-quality mating areas.


alternative reproductive behavior fighting landmark encounter site lek lepidoptera satellite behavior territoriality 



We thank Philip DeVries and an anonymous referee for their encouragement and helpful comments on the manuscript. Keith S. Brown, André V. L. Freitas, Helena P. Romanowski, Ronaldo B. Francini and Marcio R. Pie provided useful discussions and suggestions during earlier phases of the work. GWC and CEGP were supported by graduate fellowships from the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisas e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico (CNPq). WWB was supported during early phases of the work by a CNPq Research Fellowship. Lodging at the study site and authorization to conduct studies in the Environmental Protection Zone of the Serra do Japí were provided by the Municipal Government of Jundiaí


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela W. Chaves
    • 1
  • Claudio E. G. Patto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Woodruff W. Benson
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate Program in Ecology, IBUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Present address: Science DepartmentSt. Francis CollegeSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Depto de Zoologia, IBUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Zoologia, IBUNICAMPCampinasBrazil

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