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Population Structure, Dynamics and Dispersal of the Tropical Butterfly Heliconius charitonius

L. M. Cook, Eleanor W. Thomason and Allen M. Young
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 45, No. 3 (Oct., 1976), pp. 851-863
DOI: 10.2307/3584
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3584
Page Count: 15
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Population Structure, Dynamics and Dispersal of the Tropical Butterfly Heliconius charitonius
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Abstract

(1) A study of population size, longevity and movement has been carried out on the butterfly Heliconius charitonius (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in the mountains of Costa Rica. The method was that of mark, release and recapture. (2) The survey ran 155 days from 20 December 1972 to 23 May 1973 and a total of 586 butterflies was marked. The distribution consisted of several areas of high density with movement between them; there was a slight decline in numbers through the period. (3) The adults were estimated to have an average expectation of life at eclosion of thirty to fifty days, with a maximum life span of around 130 days. There is evidence of senescence, commencing after about twenty-five days. (4) The butterflies collect in communal roosts at night and tend to return to the same roost. Their movement is governed by the position of the roosts, the requirement to find patches of larval food plant for egg laying, and the position of flowers from which nutrients are obtained.

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