Adaptive and incidental consequences of the alba polymorphism in an agricultural population of Colias butterflies

female size, fecundity, and differential dispersion

George W. Gilchrist, Ronald L. Rutowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A sex-limited color dimorphism occurs in many populations of Colias eurytheme. Alba females exhibit different patterns of resource allocation and are less attractive than orange females. This study examines some of the consequences of these differences in terms of reproductive success and population structure in a high density agricultural population. Alba females produced more eggs than orange females on a daily basis, but the morphs did not differ in three measures of size. Spermatophore counts revealed that fresh and worn females did not differ in mating frequency between the two morphs, but very worn alba females gained more matings than very worn orange females. In two mark-release-recapture experiments, alba females exhibited longer residence times than orange females. Changes in population structure over time suggest that this was due to dispersal of orange females from the mature field. Evidence is presented that orange females emigrate in response to male harassment at high density while alba females, exposed to less harassment, remain behind. We suggest that the persistence of the polymorphism in this agricultural population is at least partially facilitated by the cyclic cutting of the alfalfa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-240
Number of pages6
JournalOecologia
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1986

Fingerprint

Colias
butterfly
butterflies
fecundity
polymorphism
genetic polymorphism
morphs
population structure
Colias eurytheme
spermatophore
mating frequency
mark-recapture studies
spermatophores
dimorphism
resource allocation
alfalfa
reproductive success

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Adaptive and incidental consequences of the alba polymorphism in an agricultural population of Colias butterflies : female size, fecundity, and differential dispersion. / Gilchrist, George W.; Rutowski, Ronald L.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 68, No. 2, 01.1986, p. 235-240.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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