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Research article2007Peer reviewed

Comparing movement of four butterfly species in experimental grassland strips

Soderstrom B, Hedblom M


In contrast to many studies on the habitat quality of road verges for butterflies in relation to management regimes, little is known about whether road verges also function as corridors linking fragmented grassland habitats. We experimentally compared movements of four model species, two small blues and two medium browns, with one habitat specialist and one habitat generalist in each size and phylogenetic category. A total of 425 individual butterflies were caught and translocated to an experimental arena with three 2 x 30 m grassland strips that approximated road verges; one with adult feeding resources, one sheltered from the wind, and one without food and shelter. Movements in grassland strips were compared to movements in continuous grassland habitat. Results indicated that (1) individuals did not use the low-quality strip, (2) only specialists used strips but not in the same way according to their size and phylogenic category, and (3) strip use could not be predicted from habitat selection. This finding supports the idea that corridors of intermediate quality are the most efficient to promote dispersal rates in fragmented landscapes. Road verges cover 250,000 ha in Sweden, which is nearly the total amount of seminatural grasslands. Our results suggest that, to benefit butterfly dispersal among grassland patches, road verges should be managed to create a more favourable microclimate (e.g. sheltered from wind, high temperatures)

Published in

Journal of Insect Conservation
2007, Volume: 11, number: 4, pages: 333-342
Publisher: SPRINGER

      SLU Authors

    • Söderström, Bo

      • Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Hedblom, Marcus

        • Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

      Publication identifier


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