Dispersal and egg shortfall in Monarch butterflies: what happens when the matrix is cleaned up?

Zalucki, Myron P. and Lammers, Jan H. (2010) Dispersal and egg shortfall in Monarch butterflies: what happens when the matrix is cleaned up?. Ecological Entomology, 35 1: 84-91. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2311.2009.01160.x

Author Zalucki, Myron P.
Lammers, Jan H.
Title Dispersal and egg shortfall in Monarch butterflies: what happens when the matrix is cleaned up?
Journal name Ecological Entomology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0307-6946
Publication date 2010-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2009.01160.x
Volume 35
Issue 1
Start page 84
End page 91
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
960413 Control of Plant Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
060207 Population Ecology
Formatted abstract
1. We use an individual-based model describing the life of a monarch butterfly, which utilises milkweeds both aggregated in patches and scattered across the wider landscape as a substrate for laying eggs. The model simplifies the metapopulation of milkweed habitat patches by representing them as a proportion of the overall landscape, with the rest of the landscape considered matrix, which may contain some low density of milkweed plants.

2. The model simulates the number of eggs laid daily by a butterfly as it searches for hosts. The likelihood of finding hosts is related to the density of plants and the search ability of the butterfly. For an empty matrix, remaining in a habitat patch results in more eggs laid. However individuals that are good searchers have almost equivalent success without remaining in a habitat patch. These individuals are most affected by the presence of hosts in the matrix.

3. Given realistic values of habitat patch availability, our model shows that the presence of plants at a low density in the matrix has a substantial impact on the number of eggs laid; removing these plants can reduce lifetime potential fecundity by ca. 20%. These results have implications for monarch butterflies inhabiting agricultural landscapes, in which genetically modified soybean that is resistant to herbicides has resulted in the decimation of milkweeds over large areas.  © 2010 The Royal Entomological Society.
Keyword Breeding habitat
Genetically modified crops
Habitat sterilisation
Individual movement
Milkweed patches
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 16 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 14 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 24 Jan 2010, 00:04:58 EST