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Data for: Warm night temperature alters paternal allocation strategy in a North temperate zone butterfly


Rosa, Elena; Saastamoinen, Marjo (2022), Data for: Warm night temperature alters paternal allocation strategy in a North temperate zone butterfly, Dryad, Dataset,


Warming temperatures are greatly impacting wild organisms across the globe. Some of the negative impacts of climate change can be mitigated behaviorally, for example, by changes in habitat and oviposition site choice. Temperatures are reportedly warming faster at night than during the day, yet studies assessing the impacts of increasing night temperature are rare. We used the Finnish Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) as study species and exposed adult butterflies of both sexes to warmer night conditions. Under a semi-natural outdoor enclosure, we assessed whether females base their oviposition choices primarily on habitat site characteristics (open, suggestive of dry meadows vs covered by a coarse canopy,  suggestive of pastures) or on plant condition (dry vs lush), and if their choice is altered by the thermal conditions experienced at night.  As exposure to warmer environmental conditions is expected to increase resting metabolic rate and potentially reduce life expectancy, we further assessed the fitness implications of warm night temperatures. We found that females prefer open sites for oviposition and that females do not switch their oviposition strategy based on the thermal conditions they experienced at night prior to the reproductive event. Exposure to warm nights did not influence female lifespan, but the egg hatching success of their offspring was reduced. In addition, we found that males exposed to warm nights sired larger clutches with higher hatching rate. As warm night exposure reduced male lifespan, this may imply a switch in male resource allocation strategy towards increased offspring quality. The present work adds on to the complex implications of climate warming and highlights the importance of the often-neglected role of males in shaping offspring performance.