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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Mobility, habitat selection and population connectivity of the butterfly Lycaena hellein in central Sweden

Modin, Hanna; Ockinger, Erik


To be able to predict habitat quality and potential distribution of threatened species is key to developing successful conservation strategies for threatened species with fragmented distributions. The aim of this study was to assess factors that limit the local distribution and density ofLycaena helle, an endangered butterfly, in central Sweden, and to estimate its mobility in order to classify local populations according to their importance for the connectivity on a regional level. An additional aim was to test ifL. hellehabitat quality could be assessed using remotely-sensed data such as laser scanning (LiDAR). We derived potential predictors ofL. helleoccurrence from laser scanning data and used a resource selection function to assess their predictive power. We used a mark-recapture approach to studyL. hellemovement and estimate dispersal distances. The probability of occurrence ofL. helleincreased with higher solar irradiation and was negatively affected by sloping terrain, but the LiDAR data generally had low predictive power. Population density increased with host plant density, but this effect was weak. The mark-recapture study confirmed thatL. helleis very sedentary, with a mean movement distance of only 114 m and a maximum of 600 m. The studied population extends over a large network of interconnected linear habitats, which probably facilitates dispersal and thereby population persistence. Our study highlight the importance of a warm micro-climate and of man-made habitats like road verges and power-line corridors for the conservation ofL. helle.


Dispersal; Lepidoptera; Mark-recapture; Metapopulation; Resource selection function; Stepping stone

Published in

Journal of Insect Conservation
2020, volume: 24, number: 5, pages: 821-831
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Modin, Hanna
No organisation
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

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