Effects of fertilization and elevated CO2 on larval food and butterfly nectar amino acid preference in Coenonympha pamphilus L.

Mevi-Schutz, J. and Goverde, M. and Erhardt, A.. (2003) Effects of fertilization and elevated CO2 on larval food and butterfly nectar amino acid preference in Coenonympha pamphilus L. Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, Vol. 54, H. 1. pp. 36-43.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249112

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The effects of larval diet on the nutritional preferences of butterflies has rarely been examined. This study investigates whether alterations in the larval diet result in changes in adult preferences for nectar amino acids. Larvae of Coenonympha pamphilus were raised on fertilized or unfertilized Festuca rubra, grown under ambient (350 ppm) or elevated (750 ppm) atmospheric CO2 environments. Fertilization led to marked increases in leaf nitrogen concentration. In plants grown under elevated CO2 conditions, leaf water and nitrogen concentrations were significantly lower, and the C/N-ratio increased significantly. Fertilization of the host plant shortened the development time of C. pamphilus larvae, and pupal weight increased. In contrast, larvae of C. pamphilus developed significantly slower on F. rubra grown under elevated CO2, but adult emergence weight was not affected by CO2 treatment of the plant. C. pamphilus females showed a clear preference for nectar mimics containing amino acids, whereas males, regardless of treatment, either preferred the nectar mimic void of amino acids or showed no preference for the different solutions. Female butterflies raised on fertilized plants showed a significant decline in their preference for nectar mimics containing amino acids. A slight, but not significant, trend towards increased nectar amino acid preference was found in females raised on plants grown under elevated CO2. We clearly demonstrate that alterations in larval host quality led to changes in butterfly nectar preferences. The ability of the butterfly to either rely less on nectar uptake or compensate for poor larval conditions represents a trade-off between larval and adult butterfly feeding.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Botanik (Erhardt)
UniBasel Contributors:Erhardt, Andreas
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:14 Sep 2012 06:53
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:04

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