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Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 81–103 | Cite as

Lekking in Neotropical Owl Butterflies, Caligo illioneus and C. oileus (Lepidoptera: Brassolinae)

  • Robert B. Srygley
  • Carla M. Penz
Article

Abstract

We demonstrate that the mating patterns of owl butterflies Caligo illioneus (Cramer)and C. oileus (Felder) are leks. During 1993–1994, we recorded distributions of male and female butterflies and larval hostplants in a lowland Neotropical rain forest in Panama. Caligo illioneus males aggregated along forest edges and defended territories against both conspecifics and males of the related species C. oileus, which exhibited similar behaviors. Male perch sites were not associated with hostplant dispersion or the local abundance of females. However, unmated female C. illioneus were observed to arrive and copulate with males on territories that were located near where streams intersected the roadway. We found some evidence that these leks overlap to form multiple-species aggregations. Caligo illioneus and C. oileus used the same sites at similar frequencies during 1993, a pattern that was repeated during 1994. We could not detect if members of different species were being attracted by similar environmental features or if they were effectively attracting one another to the display sites. Independent of population growth, the abundance of males at a particular site was correlated with the abundance of heterospecific males during 1993, but this pattern was not confirmed in 1994. Overlap in the leks serves as evidence against a resource-based “hot-spot” hypothesis of lek formation.

lek sexual selection owl butterflies mating behavior, tropical rain forest 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert B. Srygley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carla M. Penz
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordEngland, and
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaRepublic of Panama
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of OregonEugene

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