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Eur. J. Entomol. 2012, 109(2): 217227
Adult demography, spatial distribution and movements of Zerynthia polyxena (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) in a dense network of permanent habitats
The adult demographic parameters, mobility, nectar choice and how the spatial distribution of males and females of Z. polyxena is affected by the distribution and abundance of host-plants, and adults of the opposite sex was studied in a population of this species inhabiting a dense network of permanent habitats (totalling 8.7 ha). The population size was estimated to be ca. 300 individuals. The average adult lifespan was 4.4 days and the maximum 23 (male) and 20 (female) days. The capture probability was higher for males than females due to the more conspicuous behaviour and bounded area of activity of males. A slow increase was followed by a slow decrease in the sex specific parabolic recruitment curve, indicating slight protandry and long emergence period, probably due to habitat heterogeneity. The spatial distribution of host plants (Aristolochia lutea) is the key factor determining the spatial distribution of adults. There was a strong positive correlation between male and female density at each patch, both of which were dependent on the cover of host plants growing in sunny conditions. In searching for A. lutea plants suitable for oviposition, females fly greater distances and move more frequently between patches than males. The size, shape and orientation of the male home range were influenced by the size, shape and orientation of stands of host-plants in sunny positions, but not by patch area. Such adult fidelity to stands of host-plants in sunny positions indicates that the spatial distributions of oviposition sites, mate-locating sites and larval habitats of Z. polyxena overlap. The better statistical fit and much lower probabilities for long-distance movements generated by a negative exponential function than an inverse power function are probably due to the small size and high habitat connectivity of the site studied. Adults were opportunistic in their use of nectar plants. Traditional management is the key factor for maintaining permanent habitats for this species in a grassland biotope.
AddressJovan Hadzi Institute of Biology, Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Novi trg 2, P.O. Box 306, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia; e-mail: email@example.com
KeywordsLepidoptera, Papilionidae, Zerynthia polyxena, Southern Festoon, mark-release-recapture, demography, resource distribution, movement, home range, butterfly conservation