Butterfly - plant interactions

Andreas Erhardt , Fabian Cahenzli, Hans-Peter Rusterholz, Jovanne Mevi-Schütz, Marcel Goverde

This project focusses on interactions between plants and butterflies in both the larval and adult stage of butterflies. Although interactions between flowers and adult butterflies (picture) affect the population biology of both, butterflies and their nectar plants, this topic has so far recieved relatively little attention.
We aim to identify basic factors affecting these interactions as well as factors relevant for the protection of both butterflies and their host and nectar plants. Since butterflies are particularly threatened in Europe, and since they function as sensitive indicators of environmental change and as flagship species for nature conservation, this work is also of considerable public interest.

Keywords: pollination - butterflies - nectar preference - herbivory


Cahenzli F, Wenk BA & Erhardt A (2015) — Female butterflies adapt and allocate their progeny to the host-plant quality of their own larval experience — Ecology 96: 1966–1973

Cahenzli F & Erhardt A (2013) — Nectar amino acids enhance reproduction in male butterflies — Oecologia 171: 197–205

Cahenzli F & Erhardt A (2012) — Enhancing offspring quality or quantity? Different ways for using nectar amino acids in female butterflies — Oecologia 169: 1005–1014

Cahenzli F & Erhardt A (2012) — Nectar sugars enhance fitness in male Coenonympha pamphilus butterflies by increasing longevity or realized reproduction — Oikos 121: 1417–1423

Wirth LR, Waser NM, Graf R, Gugerli F, Landergott U, Erhardt A, Linder H-P & Holderegger R (2011) — Effects of floral neighborhood on seed set and degree of outbreeding in a high-alpine cushion plant — Oecologia 167: 427–434

Goverde M, Bazin A, Kéry M, Shykoff JA & Erhardt A (2008) — Positive effects of cyanogenic glycosides in food plants on larval development of the common blue butterfly — Oecologia 157: 409–418

Mevi-Schütz J & Erhardt A (2005) — Amino acids in nectar enhance butterfly fecundity: A long-awaited link — American Naturalist 165: 411–419

Erhardt A, Rusterholz H-P & Stöcklin J (2005) — Elevated carbon dioxid increases nectar production in Epilobium angustifolium L. — Oecologia 146: 311–317

Zoller H, Lenzin H, Rusterholz H-P & Stöcklin J (2005) — Increasing population density and seed production with altitude in Eritrichium nanaum (Boraginacceae) - an artic alpine obligatory seeder — Artic, Antartic, and Alpine Research 37: 41–48

Goverde M, Erhardt A & Stöcklin J (2004) — Genotype-specific response of a lycaenid herbivore to elevated carbon dioxide and phosphorus availability in calcareous grassland — Oecologia 139: 383–391

Mevi-Schütz J & Erhardt A (2004) — Mating frequency influences nectar amino acid preference of Pieris napi — Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B - Biological Sciences 271: 153–158

Mevi-Schütz J, Goverde M & Erhardt A (2003) — Effects of fertilization and elevated CO₂ on larval food and butterfly nectar amino acid preference in Coenonympha pamphilus L — Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 54: 36–43

Mevi-Schütz J & Erhardt A (2003) — Effects of nectar amino acids on fecundity of the wall brown butterfly (Lasiommata megera L.) — Basic and Applied Ecology 4: 413–421

Mevi-Schütz J & Erhardt A (2003) — Larval nutrition affects female nectar amino acid preference in the map butterfly (Araschnia levana) — Ecology 84: 2788–2794

Goverde M, Erhardt A & Niklaus PA (2002) — In situ development of a satyrid butterfly on calcareous grassland exposed to elevated carbon dioxide — Ecology 83: 1399–1411

Rusterholz H-P & Erhardt A (2000) — Can nectar properties explain sex-specific flower preferences in the Adonis Blue butterfly Lysandra bellargus? — Ecological Entomology 25: 81–90

Balmer O & Erhardt A (2000) — Consequences of succession on extensively cultivated grasslands for Central European butterfly communities: Rethinking conservation practices — Conservation Biology 14: 746–757

Rusterholz H-P & Erhardt A (1998) — Effects of elevated CO₂ on flowering phenology and nectar production in important nectar plants for butterflies of calcareous grasslands — Oecologia 113: 341–349


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