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Adult butterfly feeding-nectar flower associations: constraints of taxonomic affiliation, butterfly, and nectar flower morphology

Tiple, Ashish D.; Khurad, Arun M.; Dennis, Roger L.H.. 2009 Adult butterfly feeding-nectar flower associations: constraints of taxonomic affiliation, butterfly, and nectar flower morphology. Journal of Natural History, 43 (13-14). 855-884. 10.1080/00222930802610568

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Abstract/Summary

Butterfly-flower morphological interrelationships were investigated for 108 butterfly species and 20 plants at Nagpur, India. Distinct clusters of higher taxa (families) are disclosed for butterfly morphology and significant morphological and taxonomic associations occur in nectar exploitation. Flower corolla depth generally restricts exploitation by butterflies in relation to proboscis length and butterflies with high wing load indices bias their feeding to plants with massed flowers. However, important exceptions emerge; also, a substantial number of butterflies feed on plants with massed flowers though their proboscises are of marginal length for corolla depths. These butterfly species are significantly smaller, lighter, with lower wing loading and shorter proboscis indices than species which easily access the same flowering plant species. It is suggested that small size and short proboscises could give them a competitive advantage (increased rate of nectar uptake) for exploiting nectar in such situations. The significance of the findings for conservation is discussed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1080/00222930802610568
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity > BD01.1 Distributions and abundance of taxa
CEH Sections: Pywell
ISSN: 0022-2933
Additional Keywords: conservation, corolla depth, habitat, nectar resources, proboscis length
NORA Subject Terms: Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 12 Aug 2009 15:19
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/7799

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