Title

Larval ecology of declining Speyeria butterflies: Leaf consumption and larval mortality on non-native hosts

Poster Number

17

Lead Author Major

Biology, Environmenal Science, and Bioengineering

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Ryan Hill

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

Populations of Speyeria butterflies have been in decline across their ranges in North America. Endangerment is contributed to habitat destruction via over grazing, urbanization, and introduction of non-native species, which have together severely diminished populations of the Viola (violet) host plants. However, very little research has been done on Speyeria host ecology creating barriers to effective restoration and management. For example, although Speyeria appear to use particular host species, no study has quantified mortality on native and non-native hosts to examine host adaptation. In addition, few studies have quantified the link between abundance of the butterfly and their host Viola. A clearer understanding of this link is needed if we are to restore extinct populations and manage declining populations. In particular it would be very useful to know what amount of host would be necessary for a target level of butterfly abundance in restoration. Thus, to further the knowledge of Speyeria host ecology, we focused on these two aspects of butterfly-host relationships. First, we investigated levels of mortality on non-native hosts to use in future comparisons with mortality on native hosts. Second, we quantified leaf area consumption for multiple species to investigate similarity in host consumption across species on two non-native hosts. We quantified consumption during the larval stages using a newly available program: Easy Leaf Area. Together these data pave the way for future studies comparing non-native and native host plants and help provide tools for restoration.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

25-4-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

25-4-2015 4:00 PM

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Apr 25th, 2:00 PM Apr 25th, 4:00 PM

Larval ecology of declining Speyeria butterflies: Leaf consumption and larval mortality on non-native hosts

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Populations of Speyeria butterflies have been in decline across their ranges in North America. Endangerment is contributed to habitat destruction via over grazing, urbanization, and introduction of non-native species, which have together severely diminished populations of the Viola (violet) host plants. However, very little research has been done on Speyeria host ecology creating barriers to effective restoration and management. For example, although Speyeria appear to use particular host species, no study has quantified mortality on native and non-native hosts to examine host adaptation. In addition, few studies have quantified the link between abundance of the butterfly and their host Viola. A clearer understanding of this link is needed if we are to restore extinct populations and manage declining populations. In particular it would be very useful to know what amount of host would be necessary for a target level of butterfly abundance in restoration. Thus, to further the knowledge of Speyeria host ecology, we focused on these two aspects of butterfly-host relationships. First, we investigated levels of mortality on non-native hosts to use in future comparisons with mortality on native hosts. Second, we quantified leaf area consumption for multiple species to investigate similarity in host consumption across species on two non-native hosts. We quantified consumption during the larval stages using a newly available program: Easy Leaf Area. Together these data pave the way for future studies comparing non-native and native host plants and help provide tools for restoration.