Ultraviolet ornamentation and male mating success in a high-density assemblage of the butterfly Colias eurytheme

Kemp, Darrell (2006) Ultraviolet ornamentation and male mating success in a high-density assemblage of the butterfly Colias eurytheme. Journal of Insect Behavior , 19 (5). pp. 669-684.

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Ultraviolet (UV) colour patterns, particularly those deriving from surface structures, serve a role in sexual signalling and mate choice in a range of animal groups. In the butterfly Colias eurytheme (Pieridae), male-limited iridescent UV functions in species recognition, and has potential as an intraspecific sexual signal of mate quality. I compared the dorsal colouration and body size of males discovered ‘in-copula’ (N = 95) with a random sample of free-flying individuals (N = 129), both collected from a high density agricultural population located in Chandler, U.S.A. Despite reasonable variance in each trait, I found no among-group differences in UV characters (brightness, hue and angular visibility) or in the coincident pigmentary yellowish-orange (brightness and saturation). Statistical power was sufficient to detect all but the smallest among-group differences, and there was a marginally significant tendency for in-copula males to be larger. These data do not support the hypothesis for intraspecific female choice upon male dorsal colouration. However, I discuss how the density and apparently very young age of individuals in the sampling population may have pre-disposed this result, and thus, how sexual selection on male colouration may operate in a density dependent manner.

Item ID: 4037
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1572-8889
Keywords: Lepidoptera; female mate choice; sexual selection; visual signalling
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2009 05:55
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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