Data for: Temperature-mediated male condition shapes female fitness and oviposition preference in a butterfly
Rosa, Elena (2020), Data for: Temperature-mediated male condition shapes female fitness and oviposition preference in a butterfly, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8w9ghx3k4
Habitat choice by ovipositing females critically shapes fitness in species lacking parental care. We aimed at manipulating female oviposition choosiness using the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) as study species. We tested whether female choosiness is influenced by individual condition and/or that of the mating partner, which was manipulated experimentally by subjecting adults to night temperatures warmer than usual. Against our prediction, female life expectancy was not altered by the treatment and impacted her fitness only mildly. Males exposed to warm nights, on the other hand, lived shorter and females who mated with warm-exposed males sired larger clutches with higher hatching success, in line with the terminal investment hypothesis. We also tested whether females base their oviposition choices primarily on habitat type (open/shaded) or plant condition (dry/well-watered) under a semi-natural experimental set-up. We show that females choose primarily open habitats and within those habitats well-watered host plants. While female choosiness for oviposition was not affected by their own thermal treatment, mating with warm-exposed males also strengthened the female oviposition preference towards the generally preferred host plant species in this study (Plantago lanceolata). The present work brings new awareness on the often-neglected role of male condition in shaping female fitness and choice.