Effects of population size and food stress on fitness-related characters in the scarce heath, a rare butterfly in Western Europe
2001 (English)In: Conservation Biology, ISSN 0888-8892, E-ISSN 1523-1739, Vol. 15, no 6, 1667-1673 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract: Knowledge about the effects of inbreeding in natural populations is scarce, especially in invertebrates. We analyzed to what extent fitness-related traits in the scarce heath ( Coenonympha hero), a butterfly, are affected by population size and isolation and whether differences in food quality influence these effects. We categorized nine populations as either large or small and isolated. Full-sib groups of offspring from 27 females were followed under seminatural conditions. Because of increased zygote mortality, egg hatchability was significantly lower in the small and isolated populations than in the large ones. Population category had no effect on larval weight under optimal conditions, but weight was significantly lower in the small-isolated category with low food quality. The effects of inbreeding can thus be hidden when conditions are benign but can appear under stress. Survival also differed significantly between population categories, and larval developmental time tended to be longer in the small-isolated category, irrespective of food conditions. We suggest that the differences in fitness between offspring from large and small isolated populations are at least partly due to inbreeding. This adds a further threat to a species that is already suffering from decreasing population sizes and increasing isolation among populations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Science Publishing , 2001. Vol. 15, no 6, 1667-1673 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-42355DOI: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2001.99557.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-42355DiVA: diva2:70256