Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 721–728 | Cite as

Host plant-based territoriality in the white peacock butterfly,Anartia jatrophae (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)

  • Robert C. Lederhouse
  • Sylvio G. Codella
  • David W. Grossmueller
  • Alan D. Maccarone


Mate locating behavior of Anartia jatrophaewas studied near Ochopee, Collier County, Florida. Males were individually marked, and focal animal samples were used to determine activity, residency, and interactions with other butterflies. We recaptured more than half of 53 marked males within the study area on subsequent days. Marked males restricted non-feeding activity to roughly circular areas typically less than 15 m in diameter. Males showed considerable site fidelity and chased both conspecifics and a variety of other insects. Typically, encountered individuals flew away, and the resident peacock male returned to perch near his previous perch. Encounters with conspecific males averaged 38 sec, three times longer than with other insects. Such site fidelity combined with aggressive interactions indicates territorial behavior. When male density more than doubled, site fidelity decreased, resident turnover increased, and areas that had not been defended at lower density were defended. Without exception, defended sites contained the larval host, Bacopa monnieri.In butterfly mating systems, defense of host plants appears to be much less common than defense of natural features such as landmarks.

Key words

Bacopa monnieri mark-recapture mate-locating behavior residency 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. Lederhouse
    • 1
  • Sylvio G. Codella
    • 2
  • David W. Grossmueller
    • 3
  • Alan D. Maccarone
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of Minnesota-DuluthDuluth
  3. 3.Department of Zoology and PhysiologyRutgers UniversityNewark

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