butterflies of the "edge"
MWalker at gensym.com
Thu Sep 21 18:07:46 EDT 2000
Wow! With all the other stuff being discussed, I almost missed this. What
an absolutely marvelous and refreshing question. I certainly have some data
- but I'd prefer to wait and listen to other more formalized responses.
I'm hoping to hear many.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Grehan [mailto:jrg13 at psu.edu]
> Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2000 6:04 PM
> To: leps-l at lists.yale.edu
> Cc: smap at africaonline.co.ke
> Subject: butterflies of the "edge"
> The following is a modified email request from Smruti Damania for
> information regarding butterfly behaviour and ecology that I am not
> sufficiently familier with
> to provide answers. If anyone on the list would like to
> provide information
> on these aspects and any pertinent literature I am sure she
> would be most
> grateful. She is not a member of the list (although I will
> suggest that she
> like to join) so please send responses to her email address
> (but also post on
> the list if you think the points might be of general
> interest). John Grehan
> From: "Damania" <smap at africaonline.co.ke>
> I am a recent BSc. Zoology graduate from the University of
> Eastern Africa,
> Baraton. I am immensely interested in biological research and
> am an ardent
> butterfly enthusiast. While at the university, I had carried
> out several
> researches regarding the use of Lepidoptera as bio-indicators
> of different
> According to my research, the greatest diversity of
> Lepidoptera were found
> in a sampling station that is a grassland patch lying at the edge of a
> farmland. In my research, this 'edge' accounted for the
> highest distribution
> class of Lepidoptera. Also, another interesting fact was that while
> sampling in the indigenous woodland biome of my study area, I found
> aggregates of Milkweed butterflies(Amauris albimaculatus) to prefer a
> certain area within the biome
> where trees had recently been felled; and a path lay alongside.
> I am curious as to why the preference for living on the
> 'edge' should be so.
> What exactly is it about the 'edge' that attracts butterflies
> to it? From my
> observations, I found that the boundary zone between
> different biomes was
> much more preferred than within the biome itself. Why opt for
> the 'boundary
> or the 'edge' ,as you call it, in preference to an
> established, stable biome?
> I still cannot understand this, perhaps due to my limited
> knowledge on these
> amazing creatures.
> In my research, A. albimaculatus, Papilio demodocus, Papilio
> Papilio nireus and Vanessa cardui all show a preference to
> the 'edge'.
> What butterflies in America show a similar preference for the edge?
> Butterflies are still a relatively new field of study in my
> country, where
> conservation efforts tend to lean toward more economically profitable
> Smruti. (Miss Smruti Damania, P.O. Box 975, Nakuru, Kenya)
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