3 years ago

Testing predictions of movement behaviour in a hilltopping moth

‘Hilltopping’ is a common mate-locating behaviour exhibited by numerous insect taxa; individuals aggregate on summits, ridges and other topographic features, and thereby increase their likelihood of mating. Recently, hilltopping has gained interest as a model system to study nonrandom dispersal. We tested four predictions from the hilltopping literature regarding individual movement behaviour and the resulting spatial distribution of summit aggregations. Through observations and capture–mark–recapture studies using the day-flying tiger moth, Arctia (formerly Platyprepia) virginalis, we found evidence for all predictions. The highest densities of moths were associated with a few, high-elevation summits and were recaptured over multiple days. No individuals were found to move between summit aggregations and mated females had shorter residency times than males. We discuss our results in the context of the predictions, the behaviour of other hilltopping species, implications for population structure and spatial population dynamics.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0003347217302877

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