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Data from: Variation in two phases of post-winter development of a butterfly


Stålhandske, Sandra; Gotthard, Karl; Posledovich, Diana; Leimar, Olof (2014), Data from: Variation in two phases of post-winter development of a butterfly, Dryad, Dataset,


The temporal aspects of life cycle characteristics, such as diapause development, are under strong selection in seasonal environments. Fine-tuning of the life cycle may be particularly important to match the phenology of potential mates and resources as well as for optimizing abiotic conditions at eclosion. Here, we experimentally study the spring phenology of the orange tip butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines, by analysing post-winter pupal development in three populations along a latitudinal cline in each of Sweden and the United Kingdom. These countries differ substantially in their seasonal temperature profile. By repeatedly recording pupal weights, we established that post-winter development has two separate phases, with a more rapid weight loss in the second phase than in the first, likely corresponding to a ramping up of the rate of development. Variation in the duration of the first phase contributed more strongly than the second phase to the differences in phenology between the localities and sexes. We found that insects from Sweden had a faster overall rate of development than those from the United Kingdom, which is consistent with countergradient variation, as Sweden is colder during the spring than the United Kingdom. Similar trends were not observed at the within-country scale, however. A cogradient pattern was found within Sweden, with populations from the north developing more slowly, and there was no clear latitudinal trend within the United Kingdom. In all localities, males developed faster than females. Our results point to the importance of variation in the progression of post-winter development for spring phenology.

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United Kingdom