Table of Contents
Journal of Insects
Volume 2015, Article ID 761058, 5 pages
Research Article

Short-Term Dynamics Reveals Seasonality in a Subtropical Heliconius Butterfly

1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, P.O. Box 6109, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil
2Laboratório de Biologia da Conservação, Universidade Católica de Santos, Campus D. Idílio José Soares, 11015-200 Santos, SP, Brazil
3Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
4Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, P.O. Box 6109, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil

Received 12 August 2015; Accepted 5 November 2015

Academic Editor: Fedai Erler

Copyright © 2015 Thadeu Sobral-Souza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although tropical insect populations are generally regarded as constant and stable over time, some of these tropical populations, including butterflies, may fluctuate according to precipitation and temperature variation, specialized feeding patterns, and density-dependent factors. Heliconiini butterfly populations are generally regarded as stable over time because of the presence of host-plants and absence of diapause. However, peaks of abundance occur in subtropical Heliconius populations, and opposite trends concerning stability are found in the literature. Here we further investigate the dynamics of subtropical Heliconius butterflies by assessing a population of the species Heliconius sara apseudes from southeastern Brazil. We estimated individual apparent survival probability and population growth rate while accounting for the imperfect detectability of individuals using mark-recapture models to evaluate the population dynamics. Adult males presented slightly higher weekly survival estimates than females. Contrary to the common pattern described in the literature for Heliconius populations we observed a rapid decline on the adult population by the end of the mating season, possibly leading to local extinction. We discuss the potential drivers for such dynamics.