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Coevolution of Pierid Butterflies and Their Cruciferous Foodplants. II. The Distribution of Eggs on Potential Foodplants

Frances S. Chew
Evolution
Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1977), pp. 568-579
DOI: 10.2307/2407522
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2407522
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Coevolution of Pierid Butterflies and Their Cruciferous Foodplants. II. The Distribution of Eggs on Potential Foodplants
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Abstract

The oviposition behavior of two montane Pieris butterfly species is described and discussed in relation to potential evolution of foodplant utilization. Oviposition behavior toward several crucifer species was examined in relation to 1) larval growth requirements; 2) the relative abundances of these species; 3) preferences of individual females; and 4) the spatial distribution of these species. Free-flying female butter-flies were followed in three outdoor observation areas and their consecutive oviposition choices were recorded. The relative abundance of crucifers and their spatial distribution were determined in these areas. Females oviposit on nearly all available Cruciferae. Oviposition preferences tend to reflect the suitability of crucifers for larval growth, but females do not always accurately assess the suitability of a crucifer species for larval growth. Although it is not possible to exclude oviposition specialists which preferentially exploit one or two of several potential larval food resources, there is little evidence for their existence in these butterfly populations. Individual females appear, over time, to utilize all crucifer species exploited by the population as a whole, but consecutive choices may be influenced by the patchy spatial distribution of crucifer species. It is suggested that the imprecise correspondence between adult oviposition behavior and larval growth requirements may be due to 1) historical factors, and 2) habitat heterogeneity, and may provide impetus for improved food-seeking abilities in larvae.

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