Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (1): 114-119, 2015 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2015.003

Quantitative evidence for spatial variation in the biennial life cycle of the mountain butterfly Erebia euryale (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in the Czech Republic

Irena KLECKOVA1,2, Pavel VRBA1, Martin KONVICKA1,2,*
1 Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branisovska 1760, 370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic; e-mails: konva333@gmail.com; irena.slamova@gmail.com; vrba_pavel@centrum.cz
2 Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v. i., Institute of Entomology, Branisovska 1160/31, 370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

Erebia euryale (Esper, 1805) is a montane-zone representative of a Holarctic butterfly genus the species of which occur mainly in alpine areas. As in many mountain insects, E. euryale frequently undergoes a prolonged biennial larval development, which can be synchronised across mountains, resulting in prominent biennial peaks in adult emergence. However, the extant reports are often contradictory, suggesting that populations are not synchronized. We present the first quantitative assessment of the situation in the Czech Republic, based on five years of monitoring adults along transects in three major mountain systems in this country. We detected a two order magnitude difference in biennial fluctuations in adult abundance, with peaks in even years (i.e. 2010, 2012) in the Šumava Mts (southwest Czech Republic). There were less distinct odd year (i.e. 2009, 2011, 2013) peaks in the Hrubý Jeseník Mts (northeast) and no fluctuations from year to year in the number of adults recorded in the Krkonoše Mts (north). Although the mechanisms behind these patterns remain unknown, we hypothesize that rugged terrain desynchronises and flat terrain synchronises the length of development of E. euryale. Finally, the different periodicity in the fluctuations in individual mountain ranges is hypothesized to be affected by interactions with larval parasitoids or reflect the different postglacial histories of respective populations.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Erebia euryale, butterfly ecology, Central Europe, monitoring, mountain forests, phenology, life cycle, voltinism

Received: January 13, 2014; Accepted: June 16, 2014; Prepublished online: October 16, 2014; Published: January 25, 2015

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