Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (3): 417-420, 2014 | 10.14411/eje.2014.037

Age-related changes in the frequency of harassment-avoidance behaviourof virgin females of the small copper butterfly, Lycaena phlaeas (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

Jun-Ya IDE
Department of Education and Creation Engineering, Kurume Institute of Technology, 2228-66 Kamitsu-machi, Kurume, Fukuoka 830-0052, Japan; e-mail: idejy@kurume-it.ac.jp

Mated females of the small copper butterfly Lycaena phlaeas avoid harassment by males by closing their wings and concealing themselves when in the proximity of a con-specific butterfly. This wing-closing behaviour is less frequently exhibited by virgin females that are two days old or older (i.e., potentially receptive) than by mated females. During the first 2 days after emergence, females of L. phlaeas are sexually immature and unreceptive. To determine whether recently emerged virgin females try to avoid male harassment, age-related changes in the frequency of harassment-avoidance behaviour of virgin females were investigated. On the day of emergence, a high percentage of virgin females exhibited wing-closing behaviour. Over the following 2 days, however, the frequency of this behaviour declined sharply and then reached a constant low level. This observation supports the idea that the harassment-avoidance behaviour exhibited by virgin females of L. phlaeas depends on their receptivity.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae, Lycaena phlaeas, immature adult, receptivity, sexual conflict, virgin, wing-closing behaviour

Received: August 24, 2013; Accepted: January 15, 2014; Prepublished online: April 23, 2014; Published: July 14, 2014

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