, Volume 87, Issue 4, pp 577–580 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal variability in a butterfly population

  • C. D. Thomas
Original Papers


The dynamics of a butterfly (Plebejus argus) population were analysed at two levels, (i) the population as a whole and (ii) sections within the population. Some sections of the population fluctuated out of synchrony with others, such that the variability [SD Log(Density+1)] shown by the population as a whole was less than the variability shown by each part of the population — overall temporal variability was dampened by spatial asynchrony. Since observed population variability depends on the spatial scale that is sampled, comparisons of population variability among taxa should be carried out only with caution. Implications for island biogeography and conservation biology are discussed.

Key words

Plebejus argus Population dynamics Spatial scale Variability 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. D. Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.NERC Centre Population BiologyImperial CollegeAscotUK

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