Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: The Urban Heat Island and its spatial scale dependent impact on survival and development in butterflies of different thermal sensitivity

Citation

Kaiser, Aurélien; Merckx, Thomas; Van Dyck, Hans (2017), Data from: The Urban Heat Island and its spatial scale dependent impact on survival and development in butterflies of different thermal sensitivity, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8s835

Abstract

Climate alteration is one of the most cited ecological consequences of urbanization. However, the magnitude of this impact is likely to vary with spatial scale. We investigated how this alteration affects the biological fitness of insects, which are especially sensitive to ambient conditions and well-suited organisms to study urbanization-related changes in phenotypic traits. We monitored temperature and relative air humidity in wooded sites characterized by different levels of urbanization in the surroundings. Using a split-brood design experiment, we investigated the effect of urbanization at the local (i.e., 200 × 200 m) and landscape (i.e., 3 × 3 km) scale on two key traits of biological fitness in two closely related butterfly species that differ in thermal sensitivity. In line with the Urban Heat Island concept, urbanization led to a 1°C increase in daytime temperature and an 8% decrease in daytime relative humidity at the local scale. The thermophilous species Lasiommata megera responded at the local scale: larval survival increased twofold in urban compared to rural sites. Urbanized sites tended to produce bigger adults, although this was the case for males only. In the woodland species Pararge aegeria, which has recently expanded its ecological niche, we did not observe such a response, neither at the local, nor at the landscape scale. These results demonstrate interspecific differences in urbanization-related phenotypic plasticity and larval survival. We discuss larval pre-adaptations in species of different ecological profiles to urban conditions. Our results also highlight the significance of considering fine-grained spatial scales in urban ecology.

Usage Notes