Previous work suggests that submergence of Lycaena dispar larvae during overwintering may play a significant role in this butterfly's population dynamics. Since potential re-introduction sites in eastern England are prone to regular seasonal flooding, we further studied the species' submergence tolerance with a view to formulating management protocols conducive to larval survivorship under periodic flood conditions. Simulated flooding regimes using captive-reared larvae showed that enforced submergence has a twofold effect: firstly, a direct increase in mortality after 28 days under water and, secondly, a longer term, post-diapause increase in mortality; manifest either as an inability of larvae to resume feeding, or a failure to complete development. Additionally, there was a marked difference in the response of "early" and "late" diapause larvae; the latter generally succumbing after shorter periods under water, and suffering higher total mortalities. Behavioural investigations suggest that, if afforded the opportunity, diapausing larvae can evade submergence by climbing onto the exposed sections of partially flooded host plants. Significantly, survival on partially flooded plants was found to be comparable to that on unflooded controls. Further re- introductions of L. dispar in the U.K. will probably necessitate a direct translocation of wild Dutch stock. As the flood tolerance of this source population remains largely undetermined, and given that re-introduction site hydrology will be generally unamenable to conservation-oriented manipulation, it is recommended. that restoration management be directed towards creating structural diversity in the vegetation of overwintering habitats, thereby providing potential "flood refugia" for hibernating larvae.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||European Journal of Entomology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2003|
- Lycaena dispar batavus