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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Flower constancy and learning in foraging preferences of the green-veined white butterfly Pieris napi
Author(s): Goulson, Dave
Cory, Jennifer S
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Keywords: Pieris
flower colour
Issue Date: Nov-1993
Date Deposited: 1-Aug-2012
Citation: Goulson D & Cory JS (1993) Flower constancy and learning in foraging preferences of the green-veined white butterfly Pieris napi. Ecological Entomology, 18 (4), pp. 315-320.
Abstract: 1. Evolutionary pressure should select for efficient foraging strategies, within the constraints of other selective forces. We assess the mechanisms underlying flower choice in the butterfly, Pieris napi (L.), which as an adult forages for nectar. Experiments were carried out on a laboratory colony, using artificial flowers of two colours, and replicated on two successive generations. 2. When nectar was freely available from all flowers, equal numbers of butterflies visited each colour, but individual butterflies exhibited flower constancy, showing a strong preference for one colour or the other. 3. Following 3 day conditioning periods in which nectar was available from flowers of one colour only, butterflies responded by developing a preference for this colour, which persisted when both flower colours were refilled. This preference could subsequently be switched to the other flower colour following a further 3 days of conditioning. These are interpreted as adaptive (learned) responses, which would have obvious selective benefits in the field, enabling butterflies to avoid flower species which experience has shown are poor sources of nectar, and to adapt to temporal and spatial changes in nectar availability.
DOI Link: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.1993.tb01107.x
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