Détail de la référence

Population modelling of the spatial interactions between Maculinea rebeli, their initial foodplant Gentiana cruciata and Myrmica Ants within a site

Auteur : Clarke (Ralph T.)

Année de publication : 1998
Publication : Journal of Insect Conservation
Volume : 2
Fascicule : 1
Pagination : 29-37

Résumé :

A spatial computer simulation model has been developed to assist our understanding of the ways in which Maculinea butterflies depend upon the spatial distribution and abundance of their initial foodplant and their Myrmica host ant. It was initially derived for the Maculinea rebeli-Myrmica schencki-Gentiana cruciata system. It relates the population processes of the competing host and other ant species to an underlying gradient of habitat quality and incorporates the impact of adopted Maculinea caterpillars on the growth and survival of individual ant nests. The model was initially calibrated for a large site in the Spanish Pyrenees, but has since been successfully tested on 12 French sites and another in Spain. On such sites, with M. rebeli present, there is a close relationship between Maculinea population density and the density of the early larval foodplant G. cruciata. Optimum gentian density is estimated to be about 1500 plants ha-1 on sites with the natural clumping of gentians found. However, any site management which added extra gentians, especially if filling the gaps, is predicted to reduce the Maculinea population. Metapopulation studies of single species have shown that the size and spatial arrangement of patches of assumed uniformly 'suitable' habitat can influence their population dynamics and persistence. Our modelling suggests that the spatial pattern of 'suitable' habitat of varied quality within a single site can influence the local butterfly population size and perhaps also persistence. Despite being free-ranging over the whole area, the butterfly's dynamics may depend on the arrangement of habitat quality at a finer spatial scale, due to its interactions with ant species possessing narrower habitat niches and more localized dispersal