Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 433825
Title Impact of grazing management on hibernating caterpillars of the butterfly Melitaea cinxia in calcareous grasslands
Author(s) Noordwijk, C.G.E.; Flierman, D.E.; Remke, E.; Wallis de Vries, M.F.; Berg, M.P.
Source Journal of Insect Conservation 16 (2012)6. - ISSN 1366-638X - p. 909 - 920.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10841-012-9478-z
Department(s) Laboratory of Entomology
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) life-history strategies - restoration management - seminatural grasslands - intraguild predation - phytophagous insects - species-diversity - conservation - intensity - herbivores - vegetation
Abstract Semi-natural grasslands are increasingly grazed by large herbivores for nature conservation purposes. For many insects such grazing is essential for the conservation of their habitat, but at the same time, populations decrease at high grazing intensity. We hypothesised that grazing management may cause increased butterfly mortality, especially for life-stages with low mobility, such as hibernating caterpillars. To test this, we measured the effect of sheep grazing on overwinter larval survival. We used the Glanville fritillary (Melitaea cinxia), which has gregarious caterpillars hibernating in silk nests, as a model species. Caterpillar nests were monitored throughout the hibernating period in calcareous grassland reserves with low and high intensity sheep grazing and in an ungrazed control treatment. After grazing, 64 % of the nests at the high intensity grazing treatment were damaged or missing, compared to 8 and 12 % at the ungrazed and low intensity grazing treatment, respectively. Nest volume and caterpillar survival were 50 % lower at the high intensity grazing treatment compared to both ungrazed and low intensity grazing treatments. Nest damage and increased mortality were mainly caused by incidental ingestion of the caterpillars by the sheep. It is likely that grazing similarly affects other invertebrates, depending on their location within the vegetation and their ability to actively avoid herbivores. This implies that the impact of grazing strongly depends on the timing of this management in relation to the phenology of the species. A greater focus on immature and inactive life-stages in conservation policy in general and particularly in action plans for endangered species is required to effectively preserve invertebrate diversity.
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