Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (4): 543-553, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.060

Generalist-specialist continuum and life history traits of Central European butterflies (Lepidoptera) - are we missing a part of the picture?

Alena BARTONOVA1,2, Jiri BENES2, Martin KONVICKA1,2
1 Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branisovska 31, 37005 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic; e-mails: al.bartonova@gmail.com; konva@entu.cas.cz
2 Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre ASCR, Branisovska 31, 37005 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic; e-mail: BenesJir@seznam.cz

Abstract. Analyzing life history traits of butterfly communities and faunas frequently reveals a generalist-specialist continuum as the main gradient, where species using wide arrays of resources, with good dispersal ability and fast development are distinguished from those using specialised resources, having limited dispersal ability and developing slowly. To ascertain the validity of the generalist-specialist approach for an intermediately species-rich Central European fauna, we analyzed ten life history traits for 136 species of butterflies currently occurring in the Czech Republic, using principal correspondence analysis (PCA) and controlling for phylogeny. The main gradient extracted indeed revealed a generalist-specialist continuum, while the gradient perpendicular to the main axis distinguished between small-bodied polyvoltine species feeding on small herbaceous plants and large-bodied monovoltine species feeding on grasses or woody plants. We coin "constrained voltinism continuum" for the second gradient and argue that it reflects the effect of anti-herbivore strategies of larval host plants on butterfly development. The position of the butterflies in the PCA ordination mirrors the C-S-R (Competitors - Stress tolerators - Ruderals) strategies of their host plants. Butterflies that feed on C- and R-selected plants tend to be generalists, but differ in voltinism, whereas specialists tend to feed on S-selected plants. Regressing measures of current conservation status of individual species in the Czech Republic against the two extracted life history gradients yielded a significant but weak response for the generalist-specialist continuum and no response for the constrained voltinism continuum. The weak responses were due to a wide scatter of status measures among "mid generalists". The generalist-specialist continuum is hence a rather poor predictor of species conservation status. Species of high conservation concern are found either among specialists, or among mid generalists with low to intermediate values on the constrained voltinism axis.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Czech butterflies, life history traits, generalist-specialist continuum, C-S-R strategies, voltinism constraint, population trend, Central Europe

Received: February 2, 2014; Accepted: May 26, 2014; Prepublished online: August 13, 2014; Published: October 1, 2014

Download citation

References

  1. Akaike H. 1974: A new look at the statistical model identification. - IEEE Trans. Autom. Control 19: 716-723 Go to original source...
  2. Altermatt F. 2010: Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you when you fly: diet can predict phenological changes in response to climate change. - Ecol. Lett. 13: 1475-1484 Go to original source...
  3. Aubert J., Legal L., Descimon H. & Michel F. 1999: Molecular phylogeny of swallowtail butterflies of the tribe Papilionini (Papilionidae, Lepidoptera). - Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 12: 156-167 Go to original source...
  4. Barbaro L. & van Halder I. 2009: Linking bird, carabid beetle and butterfly life-history traits to habitat fragmentation in mosaic landscapes. - Ecography 32: 321-333 Go to original source...
  5. Beck J. & Fiedler K. 2009: Adult life spans of butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea + Hesperioidea): broad-scale contingencies with adult and larval traits in multi-species comparisons. - Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 96: 166-184 Go to original source...
  6. Benes J., Konvicka M., Dvorak J., Fric Z., Havelda Z., Pavlicko A., Vrabec V. & Weidenhoffer Z. 2002: Butterflies of the Czech Republic: Distribution and Conservation I, II. SOM, Praha, 857 pp
  7. Boerschig C., Klein A.-M., von Wehrden H. & Krauss J. 2013: Traits of butterfly communities change from specialist to generalist characteristics with increasing land-use intensity. - Basic Appl. Ecol. 14: 547-554 Go to original source...
  8. Boggs C.L., Watt W.B. & Ehrlich P.R. 2003: Butterflies: Ecology and Evolution Taking Flight. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 739 pp
  9. Braby M.F., Vila R. & Pierce N.E. 2006: Molecular phylogeny and systematics of the Pieridae (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea): higher classification and biogeography. - Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 147: 239-275 Go to original source...
  10. Brown J.H. 1984: On the relationship between abundance and distribution of species. - Am. Nat. 124: 255-279 Go to original source...
  11. Carnicer J., Stefanescu C., Vila R., Dinca V., Font X. & Penuelas J. 2013: A unified framework for diversity gradients: the adaptive trait continuum. - Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 22: 6-18 Go to original source...
  12. Caterino M.S., Reed R.D., Kuo M.M. & Sperling F.A. 2001: A partitioned likelihood analysis of swallowtail butterfly phylogeny (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). - Syst. Biol. 50: 106-127 Go to original source...
  13. Cizek L. 2005: Diet composition and body size in insect herbivores: why do small species prefer young leaves? - Eur. J. Entomol. 102: 675-681 Go to original source...
  14. Cizek L., Fric Z. & Konvicka M. 2006: Host plant defences and voltinism in European butterflies. - Ecol. Entomol. 31: 337-344 Go to original source...
  15. Cowley M.J.R., Thomas C.D., Roy D.B., Wilson R.J., Leon-Cortes J.L., Gutierrez D., Bulman C.R., Quinn R.M., Moss D. & Gaston K.J. 2001: Density-distribution relationships in British butterflies. I. The effect of mobility and spatial scale. - J. Anim. Ecol. 70: 410-425 Go to original source...
  16. Dapporto L. & Dennis R.L.H. 2013: The generalist-specialist continuum: Testing predictions for distribution and trends in British butterflies. - Biol. Conserv. 157: 229-236 Go to original source...
  17. Dennis R., Williams W. & Shreeve T. 1991: A multivariate approach to the determination of faunal structures among European butterfly species (Lepidoptera, Rhopalocera). - Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 101: 1-49 Go to original source...
  18. Dennis R.L.H., Hodgson J.G., Grenyer R., Shreeve T.G. & Roy D.B. 2004: Host plants and butterfly biology. Do host-plant strategies drive butterfly status? - Ecol. Entomol. 29: 12-26 Go to original source...
  19. Dennis R.L.H., Hardy P.B. & Shreeve T.G. 2008: The importance of resource databanks for conserving insects: a butterfly biology perspective. - J. Insect. Conserv. 12: 711-719 Go to original source...
  20. Dennis R.L.H., Dapporto L., Fattorini S. & Cook L.M. 2011: The generalism-specialism debate: the role of generalists in the life and death of species. - Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 104: 725-737 Go to original source...
  21. Eliot J.N. 1973: The higher classification of the Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera): A tentative arrangement. - Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. (Entomol.) 28: 371-505
  22. Feeny P. 1976: Plant apparency and chemical defense. - Rec. Adv. Phytochem. 10: 1-40
  23. Franzen M. & Betzholtz P.-E. 2012: Species traits predict island occupancy in noctuid moths. - J. Insect Conserv. 16: 155-163 Go to original source...
  24. Franzen M., Schweiger O. & Betzholtz P.-E. 2012: Species-area relationships are controlled by species traits. - PLoS One 7: e37359 Go to original source...
  25. Garcia-Barros E. 2000: Body size, egg size, and their interspecific relationships with ecological and life history traits in butterflies (Lepidoptera : Papilionoidea, Hesperioidea). - Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 70: 251-284 Go to original source...
  26. Garcia-Barros E. & Romo B.H. 2010: The relationship between geographic range size and life history traits: is biogeographic history uncovered? A test using the Iberian butterflies. - Ecography 33: 392-401 Go to original source...
  27. Gaston K.J., Blackburn T.M., Greenwood J.J.D., Gregory R.D., Quinn R.M. & Lawton J.H. 2000: Abundance-occupancy relationships. - J. Appl. Ecol. 37: 39-59 Go to original source...
  28. Grime J.P. 1977: Evidence for the existence of three primary strategies in plants and its relevance to ecological and evolutionary theory. - Am. Nat. 111: 1169-1194 Go to original source...
  29. Habel J.C. & Schmitt T. 2012: The burden of genetic diversity. - Biol. Conserv. 147: 270-274 Go to original source...
  30. Habel J.C., Roedder D., Lens L. & Schmitt T. 2013: The genetic signature of ecologically different grassland Lepidopterans. -Biodivers. Conserv. 22: 2401-2411 Go to original source...
  31. Higgins L.G. & Riley N.D. 1970: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Europe. Collins, London, 380 pp
  32. Jonason D., Andersson G.K.S., Ockinger E., Rundlof M., Smith H.G. & Bengtsson J. 2011: Assessing the effect of the time since transition to organic farming on plants and butterflies. - J. Appl. Ecol. 48: 543-550 Go to original source...
  33. Koh L.P., Sodhi N.S. & Brook B.W. 2004: Ecological correlates of extinction proneness in tropical butterflies. - Conserv. Biol. 18: 1571-1578 Go to original source...
  34. Komonen A., Grapputo A., Kaitala V., Kotiaho J.S. & Paivinen J. 2004: The role of niche breadth, resource availability and range position on the life history of butterflies. - Oikos 105: 41-54 Go to original source...
  35. Komonen A., Paivinen J. & Kotiaho J.S. 2009: Missing the rarest: is the positive interspecific abundance-distribution relationship a truly general macroecological pattern? - Biol. Lett. 5: 492-494 Go to original source...
  36. Konvicka M., Zimmermann K., Klimova M., Hula V. & Fric Z. 2012: Inverse link between density and dispersal distance in butterflies: field evidence from six co-occurring species. - Popul. Ecol. 54: 91-101 Go to original source...
  37. Kotiaho J.S., Kaitala V., Komonen A. & Paivinen J. 2005: Predicting the risk of extinction from shared ecological characteristics. - PNAS 102: 1963-1967 Go to original source...
  38. Lizee M.-H., Mauffrey J.-F., Tatoni T. & Deschamps-Cottin M. 2011: Monitoring urban environments on the basis of biological traits. - Ecol. Indic. 11: 353-361 Go to original source...
  39. MacArthur R.H. & Wilson E.O. 1967: The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 203 pp
  40. Mattila N., Kaitala V., Komonen A., Kotiaho J.S. & Paivinen J. 2006: Ecological determinants of distribution decline and risk of extinction in moths. - Conserv. Biol. 20: 1161-1168 Go to original source...
  41. Mattila M., Kotiaho J.S., Kaitala V. & Komonen A. 2008: The use of ecological traits in extinction risk assessments: A case study on geometrid moths. - Biol. Conserv. 141: 2322-2328 Go to original source...
  42. Mattila N., Kaitala V., Komonen A., Paivinen J. & Kotiaho J.S. 2011: Ecological correlates of distribution change and range shift in butterflies. - Insect Conserv. Diver. 4: 239-246 Go to original source...
  43. McGill B.J., Enquist B.J., Weiher E. & Westoby M. 2006: Rebuilding community ecology from functional traits. - Trends Ecol. Evol. 21: 178-185 Go to original source...
  44. Menendez R., Gonzalez-Megias A., Collingham Y., Fox R., Roy D.B., Ohlemuller R. & Thomas C.D. 2007: Direct and indirect effects of climate and habitat factors on butterfly diversity. -Ecology 88: 605-611 Go to original source...
  45. Nylin S., Slove J. & Janz N. 2014: Host plant utilization, host range oscillations and diversification in nymphalid butterflies: a phylogenetic investigation. - Evolution 68: 105-124 Go to original source...
  46. Ockinger E., Schweiger O., Crist T.O., Debinski D.M., Krauss J., Kuussaari M., Petersen J.D., Poyry J., Settele J., Summerville K.S. & Bommarco R. 2010: Life-history traits predict species responses to habitat area and isolation: a cross-continental synthesis. - Ecol. Lett. 13: 969-979
  47. Paivinen J., Grapputo A., Kaitala V., Komonen A., Kotiaho J.S., Saarinen K. & Wahlberg N. 2005: Negative density-distribution relationship in butterflies. - BMC Biology 3: 5 Go to original source...
  48. Pianka E. 1970: R-Selection and K-Selection. - Am. Nat. 104: 581-588 Go to original source...
  49. Poeyry J., Luoto M., Heikkinen R.K., Kuussaari M. & Saarinen K. 2009: Species traits explain recent range shifts of Finnish butterflies. - Glob. Change Biol. 15: 732-743 Go to original source...
  50. R Core Team 2013: R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria, R Foundation for Statistical Computing. URL: http://www.R-project.org/
  51. Reinhardt R., Sbieschne H., Settele J., Fischer U. & Fiedler G. 2007: Tagfalter von Sachsen. In Klausnitzer B. & Reinhardt R. (eds): Beitraege zur Insektenfauna Sachsens Band 6. Entomologische Nachrichten und Berichte, Beiheft 11. Dresden, 696 pp
  52. Rundlof M. & Smith H.G. 2006: The effect of organic farming on butterfly diversity depends on landscape context. - J. Appl. Ecol. 43: 1121-1127 Go to original source...
  53. Schwanghart W., Beck J. & Kuhn K. 2008: Measuring population densities in a heterogeneous world. - Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 17: 566-568 Go to original source...
  54. Sekar S. 2012: A meta-analysis of the traits affecting dispersal ability in butterflies: can wingspan be used as a proxy? - J. Anim. Ecol. 81: 174-184 Go to original source...
  55. Singer M.C., Stefanescu C. & Pen I. 2002: When random sampling does not work: standard design falsely indicates maladaptive host preferences in a butterfly. - Ecol. Lett. 5: 1-6 Go to original source...
  56. Soga M. & Koike S. 2013: Mapping the potential extinction debt of butterflies in a modern city: implications for conservation priorities in urban landscapes. - Anim. Conserv. 16: 1-11 Go to original source...
  57. Stefanescu C., Carnicer J. & Penuelas J. 2011: Determinants of species richness in generalist and specialist Mediterranean butterflies: the negative synergistic forces of climate and habitat change. - Ecography 34: 353-363 Go to original source...
  58. Stevens V.M., Trochet A., Van Dyck H., Clobert J. & Baguette M. 2012: How is dispersal integrated in life histories: a quantitative analysis using butterflies. - Ecol. Lett. 15: 74-86 Go to original source...
  59. Telfer M.G., Preston C.D. & Rothery P. 2002: A general method for measuring relative change in range size from biological atlas data. - Biol. Conserv. 107: 99-109 Go to original source...
  60. Ter Braak C.J.F. & Smilauer P. 2012: CANOCO Reference Manual and User's Guide: Software for Ordination (version 5.0). Microcomputer Power, Ithaca, NY, 496 pp
  61. Tolman T. & Lewington R. 2008: Collins Butterfly Guide: The Most Complete Field Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Europe. Collins, London, 384 pp
  62. Turlure C., Schtickzelle N. & Baguette M. 2010: Resource grain scales mobility and adult morphology in butterflies. -Landsc. Ecol. 25: 95-108 Go to original source...
  63. Wahlberg N., Weingartner E. & Nylin S. 2003: Towards a better understanding of the higher systematics of Nymphalidae (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea). - Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 28: 473-484 Go to original source...
  64. Walton R.K., Brower L.P. & Davis A.K. 2005: Long-term monitoring and fall migration patterns of the Monarch butterfly in Cape May, New Jersey. - Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 98: 682-689 Go to original source...
  65. Warren M.S. 1992: Butterfly populations. In Dennis R.L.H. (ed.): The Ecology of Butterflies in Britain. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 73-92
  66. Warren A.D., Ogawa J.R. & Brower A.V.Z. 2009: Revised classification of the family Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera: Hesperioidea) based on combined molecular and morphological data. - Syst. Entomol. 34: 467-523 Go to original source...
  67. Woodcock B.A., Bullock J.M., Mortimer S.R., Brereton T., Redhead J.W., Thomas J.A. & Pywell R.F. 2012: Identifying time lags in the restoration of grassland butterfly communities: A multi-site assessment. - Biol. Conserv. 155: 50-58 Go to original source...