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Journal Article

Feeding Habits and Change of Body Composition with Age in Three Nymphalid Butterfly Species

Bengt Karlsson
Oikos
Vol. 69, No. 2 (Mar., 1994), pp. 224-230
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3546142
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3546142
Page Count: 7
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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.
Feeding Habits and Change of Body Composition with Age in Three Nymphalid Butterfly Species
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Abstract

Three species of nymphalid butterflies with different types of adult feeding behaviour were examined to see how the allocation of larval-derived resources to abdomen vs thorax change with age. Adults of Pararge aegeria and Speyeria mormonia feed on poor-quality diets. They are expected to be more dependent on larval-derived reserves stored in the abdomen for reproduction than are species with high-quality diets. In accordance with these expectations abdomen mass decreases with age in both males and females. Furthermore, thorax mass of females also decreases with age. Since the bulk of the thorax consists of flight muscles, this suggests that old females use resources derived from flight muscles for egg production. However, since thorax ratio (thorax mass/total mass) increases with age, flight properties such as speed and maneuverability are likely to be unchanged or even improved with advancing age. Adults of Heliconius hecale, which feed on a more rich-quality diet, show a reversed pattern compared with the other two species. In both sexes, abdomen mass and thorax mass increase with age.

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