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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 46.1 (2023) Pages: 1-11

Factors affecting survival and dispersal of the comma butterfly in a high mountain deciduous forest habitat

Oro, D., Stefanescu, C., Alba, M., Capitán, J., Ubach, A., Genovart, M.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2023.46.0001

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Abstract

Population and community dynamics of butterflies are relatively well known in Europe thanks to citizen science and academic efforts to cover large spatio–temporal scales. However, there are still gaps of knowledge about which life–history traits have a large influence on the dynamics of particular species and the ecological factors that influence those traits. We conducted a capture–recapture demographic study on the comma butterfly Polygonia c–album in a high mountain deciduous forest. We estimated daily survival in breeding adults caught while foraging on thistles and we calculated the probability of dispersal between two close sites. Thistle growth was enhanced by nitrification in cattle grazing in the study area. Local survival was higher for males (0.920, 95 % CI: 0.851–0.959) than for females (0.869, 95 % CI: 0.799–0.917). Short–range dispersal mostly occurred in absence of wind. Light winds and high levels of solar radiation likely enhanced foraging activity. In contrast with findings in most butterfly demographic studies, recapture rates were significantly higher in females than in males, likely due to the latter moving each afternoon to establish territories along sunny forest edges away from the foraging habitat. Further demographic studies are needed to assess the effects of climate stochasticity and habitat transformation caused by changes in extensive cattle grazing on the population dynamics of the comma butterfly.

Keywords

Capture–recapture, Pyrenees, Comma butterfly, Survival, Wind, Dispersal

Cite

Oro, D., Stefanescu, C., Alba, M., Capitán, J., Ubach, A., Genovart, M., 2023. Factors affecting survival and dispersal of the comma butterfly in a high mountain deciduous forest habitat. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 46: 1-11, DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2023.46.0001

Reception date:

04/07/2022

Acceptation date:

02/10/2022

Publication date:

28/11/2022

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