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Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 230–246 | Cite as

Diurnal Behavior and Habitat Preferences of Erebia aethiops, an Aberrant Lowland Species of a Mountain Butterfly Clade

  • Irena SlamovaEmail author
  • Jan Klecka
  • Martin Konvicka
Article

Abstract

Erebia aethiops is an aberrant lowland representative of a predominately arctic and alpine butterfly genus. We used behavioral records obtained during a mark-recapture study (MR) to extract information about its adult diurnal and within-season activity, and to compare its activity with previously studied mountain Erebia species. Similarly to them, maintenance activities (nectaring, basking) increased with season. Contrary to mountain relatives, E. aethiops nectars in morning hours and spends the hottest parts of the day in the shade. Therefore, high rather than low temperatures seem to be limiting E. aethiops activity. We also compared microhabitat preferences of sexes, finding that females preferred grassy patches, whereas males often entered scrub and sparse canopy forest. The study illustrates the utility of auxiliary MR data to analyze butterfly activity, and points to the necessity of finely structured habitat mosaics for E. aethiops, an open woodland species that retracted to abandoned grasslands and has become vulnerable in Central Europe.

Keywords

Butterfly activity habitat preferences diurnal behavior season temperature 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the Blansky Les Protected Landscape Area administration (esp. R. Janak, T. Rejnkova, Z. Hanc) for permits to work in the nature reserve, and for accommodation that greatly facilitated the study. J. Danko, T. Dudikova, D. Hisem, J. Kadrman, Z. Karova, V. Pouska, A. Vitova and P. Vlasanek helped in the field. Comments of two anonymous reviewers greatly helped to improve the text. Funding was provided by the Ministry of Education (6007665801, LC06073), Ministry of the Environment (SP/2d3/153/08) and the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (206/08/H044, GACR P505/10/2248, GACR P505/10/1630).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of EntomologyBiology Centre of the Czech Academy of SciencesCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic

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