Long range dispersal in checkerspot butterflies: Transplant experiments with Euphydryas gillettii

  • Published source details Holdren C.E. & Ehrlich P.R. (1981) Long range dispersal in checkerspot butterflies: Transplant experiments with Euphydryas gillettii. Oecologia, 50, 125-129.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate to establish populations outside of known range

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Translocate to establish populations outside of known range

    A study in 1979–1980 in an alpine meadow in Colorado, USA (Holdren & Ehrlich 1981, same experimental set up as Boggs et al. 2006) reported that a population of Gillette's checkerspot Euphydryas gillettii translocated outside the species’ native range died out within a year. Immediately after the release of 8,000 eggs and caterpillars, 85–90% of egg masses hatched and began feeding, and at least a third grew to a good size. Ten months later, 14 caterpillars were found feeding on plants where individuals were released, and 85% of bearberry honeysuckle Lonicera involucrata bushes had extensive feeding damage. However, only one adult female and a single egg cluster were found in July, and the egg cluster later disappeared. A later study confirmed that the population did not survive (Boggs et al. 2006). In July 1979, eggs and mated adult females were collected in Wyoming. On 10 July 1979, seventeen females were released in an alpine meadow. A week later, ~8,000 eggs and newly-hatched caterpillars were released on to bearberry honeysuckle at the same site. Egg clusters were taped to the leaves, and caterpillars were released in paper cups. Large plants which were not at risk of flooding were specifically chosen. In May 1980, the site was surveyed for surviving caterpillars, and in June and July it was monitored for adults and egg clusters. A second, successful translocation reported by this study is summarized in 2 - Boggs et al. 2006.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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