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Preferences and Non-Preferences for Nectar Constituents in Ornithoptera priamus poseidon (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae)

Andreas Erhardt
Oecologia
Vol. 90, No. 4 (1992), pp. 581-585
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4220016
Page Count: 5
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Preferences and Non-Preferences for Nectar Constituents in Ornithoptera priamus poseidon (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae)
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Abstract

Preferences for nectar sugars and amino acids of Ornithoptera priamus butterflies were tested experimentally. Both male and female butterflies clearly preferred a sucrose solution over a glucose solution of equal concentration (25%, weight to total weight) and equally a fructose solution over a glucose solution. A significant trend of males to prefer fructose over sucrose and of females to prefer sucrose over fructose was detected. However, neither males nor females discriminated between a mimic of Lantana camara nectar containing amino acids and a corresponding plain sugar solution. These results suggest that butterflies select against glucose in floral nectar but do not support the hypothesis that butterflies select for high levels of amino acids in nectar. The rather unspecific response of Ornithoptera priamus butterflies to the tested nectar constituents may reflect a generalist feeding strategy of these long-lived and spectacular butterflies.

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