Warming experiments test the temperature sensitivity of an endangered butterfly across life history stages
The Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) (hereafter Karner blue) is a federally listed endangered species occurring in disjunct locations within the Midwest and Eastern United States. As a hostplant specialist and an ectotherm, the Karner blue is likely to be susceptible to effects of climate change. We undertook warming experiments to explore the temperature sensitivity of various Karner blue life history stages and traits. Over a two-year period, we exposed all Karner blue life stages to temperature increases of + 2, + 4, and + 6 °C above 1952–1999 mean temperatures. We analyzed the effect of these treatments on life history parameters likely related to fitness and population size, including development time, voltinism, degree-day accumulation, body weight, and morphology. Warming treatments resulted in earlier emergence and accelerated development, leading to additional generations. Warming also increased the number of degree-days accumulated during pre-adult development (i.e., egg hatch to eclosion). Results suggest that Karner blues developed in fewer days, in part, by putting on less mass as temperatures increased. As treatment temperature increased, adult body mass, length, and area decreased and voltinism increased. Females with lower adult mass and smaller body size produced fewer eggs. These results suggest a trade-off between accelerated development and decreased body size with decrease in adult mass and abdominal area being associated with reduced fecundity.
|Warming experiments test the temperature sensitivity of an endangered butterfly across life history stages
|Lainey Bristow, Ralph Grundel, Jason Dzurisin, Yudi Li, Andrew Hildreth, Jessica Hellmann
|Journal of Insect Conservation
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Great Lakes Science Center