Larval densities of the protected Striped lychnis moth Shargacucullia lychnis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Buckinghamshire

Juliano Morimoto, Lucy Kerr

Research output: Working paperPreprint

Abstract

Natural history information is essential for ecologically-relevant inferences about (adaptive) responses in organismal biology. Yet, natural history data can be difficult to obtain, particularly for the developmental stages of holometabolous insects. This gap can compromise our ability to design controlled experiments that provide useful understanding of insect responses to changing environments and precludes our ability to understand how natural populations may respond to unpredictable climatic changes in their natural environment. In this study, we collated data from previous reports from the Butterfly Conservation Upper Thames Branch on the larval population density of Shargacucullia lychnis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Buckinghamshire. In the UK, S. lychnis is a protected species, for which natural history information can be invaluable for its effective conservation. We report here that the natural range of larval densities observed for S. lychnis across locations and years is 0.001 to 6.417 larvae per spike. More importantly, S. lychnis larval density has overall declined from 1996 to 2020, which could support previous reports of a contraction in population range for this species. Overall, this study provides invaluable information about larval population density for an important protected Lepidopteran species of the UK.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherbioRxiv
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2021

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