Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2014.2922
Title (Primary) Variable coloration is associated with dampened population fluctuations in noctuid moths
Author Forsman, A.; Betzholtz, P.-E.; Franzén, M.
Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Year 2015
Department BZF
Volume 282
Issue 1808
Page From art. 20142922
Language englisch
Keywords colour polymorphism, dynamics, ecological diversity, moths, noctuidae, population fluctuations
UFZ wide themes RU1;
Abstract Theory and recent reviews state that greater genetic and phenotypic variation should be beneficial for population abundance and stability. Experimental evaluations of this prediction are rare, of short duration and conducted under controlled environmental settings. The question whether greater diversity in functionally important traits stabilizes populations under more complex ecological conditions in the wild has not been systematically evaluated. Moths are mainly nocturnal, with a large variation in colour patterns among species, and constitute an important food source for many types of organisms. Here, we report the results of a long-term (2003–2013) monitoring study of 115 100 noctuid moths from 246 species. Analysis of time-series data provide rare evidence that species with higher levels of inter-individual variation in colour pattern have higher average abundances and undergo smaller between-year fluctuations compared with species having less variable colour patterns. The signature of interspecific temporal synchronization of abundance fluctuations was weak, suggesting that the dynamics were driven by species-specific biotic interactions rather than by some common, density-independent factor(s). We conclude that individual variation in colour patterns dampens population abundance fluctuations, and suggest that this may partly reflect that colour pattern polymorphism provides protection from visually oriented predators and parasitoids.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Forsman, A., Betzholtz, P.-E., Franzén, M. (2015):
Variable coloration is associated with dampened population fluctuations in noctuid moths
Proc. R. Soc. B-Biol. Sci. 282 (1808), art. 20142922