Male mate location behaviour and encounter sites have been studied in 72 butterfly species at Nagpur, India, and related to taxonomy, morphology, habitat and population parameters. Species can be placed in three broad classes of mate location behaviour: invariant patrolling, invariant perching, and perch-patrol, the latter associated with increasing site fidelity, territorial defence and male assemblages. Significant taxonomic differences occur, closely related species tending to share mate location behaviours. Morphological differences are found with heavier and larger butterflies displaying greater site fidelity and territorial defence, and differences occur between individuals of species which both perch and patrol. Invariant patrolling is particularly associated with tracks through vegetation, host plant-track distributions, and high female to male numbers observed on transects; invariant perching is linked more to edge features than patrolling, and to lower population counts on transects. Species which perch-patrol, defend territories and establish male assemblages are associated with more complex vegetation structures, and have encounter sites at vegetation edges, landforms and predictable resource (host plant) concentrations. Attention is drawn to the importance of distinctive mate encounter sites for the conservation of butterfly species’ habitats.
Volume 44 | Issue 3
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