Etracker Debug:
	et_pagename = "Animal Migration|ami|C|[EN]"
	
        
Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation

Animal Migration

1 Issue per year


VERSITA Emerging Science

Open Access

Open Access

Variation in wing characteristics of monarch butterflies during migration: Earlier migrants have redder and more elongated wings

Dara A. Satterfield1 / 1

1Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens GA 30602

© 2014 Dara A. Satterfield, Andrew K. Davis. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citation Information: Animal Migration. Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2084-8838, DOI: 10.2478/ami-2014-0001, April 2014

Publication History

Received:
2013-11-18
Accepted:
2013-12-16
Published Online:
2014-04-24

Abstract

The migration of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in North America has a number of parallels with long-distance bird migration, including the fact that migratory populations of monarchs have larger and more elongated forewings than residents. These characteristics likely serve to optimize flight performance in monarchs, as they also do with birds. A question that has rarely been addressed thus far in birds or monarchs is if and how wing characteristics vary within a migration season. Individuals with superior flight performance should migrate quickly, and/or with minimal stopovers, and these individuals should be at the forefront of the migratory cohort. Conversely, individuals with poor flight performance and/or low endurance would be more likely to fall behind, and these would comprise the latest migrants. Here we examined how the wing morphology of migrating monarchs varies to determine if wing characteristics of early migrants differ from late migrants. We measured forewing area, elongation (length/width), and redness, which has been shown to predict flight endurance in monarchs. Based on a collection of 75 monarchs made one entire season (fall 2010), results showed that the earliest migrants (n = 20) in this cohort had significantly redder and more elongated forewings than the latest migrants (n = 17). There was also a non-significant tendency for early migrants to have larger forewing areas. These results suggest that the pace of migration in monarchs is at least partly dependent on the properties of their wings. Moreover, these data also raise a number of questions about the ultimate fate of monarchs that fall behind

Keywords: Monarch butterfly; Danaus plexippus; migration; wing morphology; wing color

References

  • [1] Bowlin M. S., Sex, wingtip shape, and wing-loading predict arrival date at a stopover site in the swainson’s thrush (Catharus ustulatus), Auk 2007, 124, 1388-1396 [CrossRef]

  • [2] Corman A.-M., Bairlein F., Schmaljohann H., The nature of the migration route shapes physiological traits and aerodynamic properties in a migratory songbird, Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 2014, 68, 391-402 [CrossRef]

  • [3] Chandler C. R., Mulvihill R.S., Wing-shape variation and differential timing of migration in dark-eyed juncos, Condor, 1990, 92, 54-61. [CrossRef]

  • [4] Lockwood R., Swaddle J. P., Rayner J. M. V., Avian wingtip shape reconsidered: wingtip shape indices and morphological adaptations to migration, J. Avian Biol., 1998, 29, 273-292 [CrossRef]

  • [5] Calmaestra R. G., Moreno E., A phylogenetically-based analysis on the relationship between wing morphology and migratory behaviour in Passeriformes, Ardea, 2001, 89, 407-416

  • [6] Bowlin M. S., Wikelski W., Pointed wings, low wingloading and calm air reduce the cost of migratory flight in songbirds, Plos One, 2008, 3, e2154

  • [7] Mulvihill R. S., Chandler C. R., A comparison of wing shape between migratory and sedentary dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), Condor 1991, 93, 172-175 [CrossRef]

  • [8] Copete J. L., Marine R., Bigas D., Martinez-Vilalta A., Differences in wing shape between sedentary and migratory Reed Buntings Emberiza schoeniclus, Bird Study 1999, 46, 100-103 [CrossRef]

  • [9] Egbert J. R., Belthoff J. R., Wing shape in House Finches differs relative to migratory habit in eastern and western North America, Condor, 2003, 105, 825-829 [CrossRef]

  • [10] Forschler M. I., Bairlein F., Morphological shifts of the external flight apparatus across the range of a Passerine (Northern Wheatear) with diverging migratory behavior, Plos One, 2011, 6, 9 [PubMed]

  • [11] McKenna D. D., McKenna K. M., Malcolm S. B., Berenbaum M. R., Mortality of Lepidoptera along roadways in central Illinois, J. Lepidopterists’ Soc., 2001, 55, 63-68

  • [12] Howard E., Davis A. K., Mortality of migrating monarch butterflies from a wind storm on the shore of Lake Michigan, USA, J. Res. Lepidoptera, 2012, 45, 49-54

  • [13] Brower L. P., Fink L. S., Walford P., Fueling the fall migration of the monarch butterfly, Integr. Comp. Biol., 2006, 46, 1123-1142 [CrossRef]

  • [14] Dockx C., Directional and stabilizing selection on wing size and shape in migrant and resident monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus (L.), in Cuba, Biol. J. Linn. Soc., 2007, 92, 605-616 [CrossRef]

  • [15] Altizer S. M., Oberhauser K., Brower L. P., Associations between host migration and the prevalence of a protozoan parasite in natural populations of adult monarch butterflies, Ecol. Entomol., 2000, 25, 125-139

  • [16] Altizer S., Davis A. K., Populations of monarch butterflies with different migratory behaviors show divergence in wing morphology, Evolution, 2010, 64, 1018-1028 [CrossRef] [PubMed]

  • [17] Davis A. K., Wing color of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in eastern North America across life stages: migrants are ‘redder’ than breeding and overwintering stages, Psyche, 2009, DOI: 10.1155/2009/705780 [CrossRef]

  • [18] Davis A. K., Chi J., Bradley C. A., Altizer S., The redder the better: wing color predicts flight performance in monarch butterflies, PloS One, 2012, 7, e41323, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0041323 [CrossRef]

  • [19] Hanley D., Miller N. G., Flockhart D. T., Norris D. R., Forewing pigmentation predicts migration distance in wild-caught migratory monarch butterflies, Behav. Ecol., 2013, 24, 1108-1113

  • [20] Bradley C. A., Altizer S., Parasites hinder monarch butterfly flight: implications for disease spread in migratory hosts, Ecol. Letters, 2005, 8, 290-300

  • [21] Sander S. E., Altizer S., De Roode J. C., Davis A. K., Genetic factors and host traits predict spore morphology for a butterfly pathogen, Insects, 2013, 4, 447-462

  • [22] Gibo D. L., McCurdy J. A., Lipid accumulation by monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus L.), Can. J. Zool., 1993, 71, 76-82

  • [23] Statistica 2003, Statistica version 6.1, Statsoft Inc.

  • [24] Satterfield D. A., Wright A. E., Altizer S., Lipid reserves and immune defense in healthy and diseased migrating monarchs Danaus plexippus, Curr. Zool., 2013, 59, 393-402

  • [25] Flockhart D. T. T., Martin T. G., Norris D. R., Experimental examination of intraspecific density-dependent competition during the breeding period in monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus), Plos One, 2012, 7, 8 [PubMed]

  • [26] Davis A. K., Farrey B., Altizer S., Variation in thermally-induced melanism in monarch butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) from three North American populations, J. Therm. Biol., 2005, 30, 410-421 [CrossRef]

  • [27] Maggini I., Spina F., Voigt C. C., Ferri A., Bairlein F., Differential migration and body condition in Northern Wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe) at a Mediterranean spring stopover site, J Ornithology, 2013, 154, 321-328

  • [28] Borland J., Johnson C. C., Crumpton III T. W., Thomas M., Altizer S., Oberhauser K., Characteristics of fall migratory monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, in Minnesota and Texas, In K. Oberhauser, M. Solensky [Eds.], The monarch butterfly, Biology and conservation, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2004, 97-104

  • [29] McCord J. W., Davis A. K., Biological observations of monarch butterfly behavior at a migratory stopover site: results from a long-term tagging study in coastal South Carolina, J. Insect Behav., 2010, 23, 405-418 [CrossRef]

  • [30] Calvert W. H., Brower L. P., The location of monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus L.) overwintering colonies in Mexico in relation to topography and climate, J Lepidopterists’ Soc., 1986, 40, 164-187

  • [31] Howard E., Davis A. K., Tracking the fall migration of eastern monarchs with Journey North roost sightings: new findings about the pace of fall migration, In: K. Oberhauser, S. Altizer, K. Nail [Eds.], Monarchs in a changing world: Biology and conservation of an iconic insect, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, (in press)

  • [32] Howard E., Aschen H., Davis A. K., Citizen science observations of monarch butterfly overwintering in the southern United States, Psyche, 2010, DOI: 10.1155/2010/689301 [CrossRef]

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.