Emergence patterns in male butterflies: A hypothesis and a test

Yoh Iwasa, Francois J. Odendaal, Dennis D. Murphy, Paul R. Ehrlich, Alan E. Launer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Citations (Scopus)


A game theoretical model is advanced to explain the emergence time schedule of male butterflies under temporal "apostatic" selection, so that males emerging on different days enjoy equal fitness in evolutionary equilibrium. The model predicts not only the position of the peak date but also the shape of the male emergence curve for any given female emergence schedule. Where the female emergence curve is smooth with one peak, a flight season can be divided into an earlier phase, when some males emerge every day, and a later phase in which no male emerges. The male emergence curve is truncated at the boundary of the phases. The position of the truncation point is determined by the difference between pre- and postemergence mortality. Preemergence mortality also determines the rate coefficient of the decrease in sex ratio through the season. The model is applied to a well-studied population of the butterfly Euphydryas editha. The male presence curve fits well, but no clear truncation exists in male emergence, and some males emerge earlier than predicted. Reasons for deviations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-379
Number of pages17
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1983
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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