Eur. J. Entomol. 107 (3): 369-376, 2010 | 10.14411/eje.2010.046

Weather factors affecting the male mate-locating tactics of the small copper butterfly (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

Jun-Ya IDE*
Laboratory of Insect Ecology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

Males of the small copper butterfly, Lycaena phlaeas daimio, exhibit two mate-locating tactics: patrolling and perching. Field investigations were conducted to determine the biotic and abiotic factors affecting the mate-locating behaviour of male L. phlaeas. Patrolling was often observed when light intensity was high. Perching was performed throughout the day regardless of environmental conditions, but the chasing of passing insects increased at high light intensities. The activity patterns of the males were not affected by those of the females. The thoracic temperatures of patrolling males were lower than those of perching males under cool conditions, suggesting that patrolling males lose heat more easily. In contrast, perching males may more easily regulate their body temperature to a suitable level as they fly for shorter periods and can bask while waiting for mates. These results highlight several reasons (i.e., heat loss, energetic costs) why males patrol when weather conditions are favourable.

Keywords: Activity pattern, Lycaena phlaeas daimio, mate-locating tactics, patrolling, perching, thermoregulation, weather

Received: December 1, 2009; Accepted: March 1, 2010; Published: July 20, 2010

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