, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 201–207 | Cite as

Temporal and spatial variation of mortality in field populations of Danaus plexippus L. and D. chrysippus L. Larvae (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)

  • M. P. Zalucki
  • R. L. Kitching


Mortality estimates for the immature stages of two butterfly species, Danaus plexippus and D. chrysippus, were obtained by observing the survival of egg cohorts on different sized patches of food plants (Asclepias spp.), over a one-year period. Losses were variable (0–100%) but usually high (90% and over) throughout the year for both species. Most of the losses in both species occurred in the early stages. The mortality by the third instar accounts for 86–100% of the total losses by instar V. Accordingly both species fall into Price's (1975) type A survivorship category. The size of patches of host plants affected losses. The trend was for increasing losses with increasing patch size. A full life-budget is presented for D. plexippus and implications of the observed mortality levels for competition between the two butterfly species is discussed.


Host Plant Spatial Variation Food Plant Patch Size Total Loss 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. P. Zalucki
    • 1
  • R. L. Kitching
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Australian Environmental StudiesGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia

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