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Dispersibility of the Pale Grass Blue Butterfly Zizeeria maha (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) Revealed by One-Individual Tracking in the Field: Quantitative Comparisons between Subspecies and between Sexes

Published: 14 February 2020
 by  MDPI AG
 in Insects
Insects , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11020122

Abstract: The pale grass blue butterfly Zizeeria maha (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) has been used as an environmental indicator species for radioactive pollution after the Fukushima nuclear accident. Here, based on the one-individual tracking method in the field, we examined dispersal-associated and other behavioral traits of this butterfly, focusing on two subspecies, Z. maha argia in mainland Japan and Z. maha okinawana in Okinawa. The accumulated distances in the adult lifespan were 18.9 km and 38.2 km in mainland and Okinawa males, respectively, and 15.0 km and 7.8 km in mainland and Okinawa females, respectively. However, the mean distance from the starting point was only 24.2 m and 21.1 m in the mainland and Okinawa males, respectively, and 13.7 m and 7.4 m in the mainland and Okinawa females, respectively. Some quantitative differences in resting and feeding were found between subspecies and between sexes. The ARIMA (autoregressive integrated moving average) model indicated that the dispersal distance was 52.3 m (99% confidence interval value of 706.6 m) from the starting point in mainland males. These results support the idea that despite some behavioral differences, both subspecies of this butterfly are suitable as an environmental indicator because of the small dispersal ranges.
Keywords: indicator species / subspecies / Dispersibility / Fukushima nuclear accident / Pale Grass Blue Butterfly / Zizeeria Maha / Butterfly Behavior / one-individual tracking

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