Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Good Things Come in Larger Packages: Size Matters for Fruit-feeding Butterfly Dispersal and Diet Breadth

Version 1 : Received: 4 November 2021 / Approved: 5 November 2021 / Online: 5 November 2021 (10:35:29 CET)

How to cite: Freire-Jr., G.; Silva, T.; Oliveira, H.; Collier, C.; Rodrigues, H.P.; Dias, J.P.; Pereira Santos, J.; Marini-Filho, O.J.; Freitas, A.V.L.; Smilanich, A.; Dyer, L.A.; Diniz, I.R. Good Things Come in Larger Packages: Size Matters for Fruit-feeding Butterfly Dispersal and Diet Breadth. Preprints 2021, 2021110113 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0113.v1). Freire-Jr., G.; Silva, T.; Oliveira, H.; Collier, C.; Rodrigues, H.P.; Dias, J.P.; Pereira Santos, J.; Marini-Filho, O.J.; Freitas, A.V.L.; Smilanich, A.; Dyer, L.A.; Diniz, I.R. Good Things Come in Larger Packages: Size Matters for Fruit-feeding Butterfly Dispersal and Diet Breadth. Preprints 2021, 2021110113 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0113.v1).

Abstract

Introduction: Body size is correlated with many aspects of an animal species' natural history, such as life span, abundance, dispersal capacity and diet breadth. However, contrasting trends have been reported for the relationship between body size and these ecological traits. Methods: Butterfly species from fruit-feeding guilds were used to investigate whether body size correlates with species abundances, dispersal, permanence, and diet breadth in a Neotropical savanna in Brazil (Cerrado). We used Blomberg’s K and Phylogenetic Generalized Least Squares models (PGLS) to measure phylogenetic signal strength in species traits, and to estimate size-dispersal-diet breadth associations while taking shared ancestry into account. Results: 539 individuals from 27 species were captured, and 190 individuals were recaptured, representing a 35% recapture rate. We found that body size negatively influenced butterfly abundance. In contrast, body size was positively associated with dispersal levels, distance traveled, number of traps visited, individual permanence, and diet breadth. These results indicate that larger butterflies have a greater proportion of dispersing individuals over longer distances, as they permanence were detected over longer periods than their smaller relatives. Moreover, larger butterflies are more generalized, based on the number of host plant families and genera they consume. Smaller butterflies demand fewer resources, which is reflected in their higher survival in small patches, and may explain their lower dispersal ability, and higher diet specialization. Nevertheless, lower dispersal ability, if not compensated by large population sizes, may threaten small-bodied species inhabiting environments with intense deforestation rates, such as the Cerrado. Conclusions: Body size positively influences dispersal and diet breadth in the fruit-feeding butterflies collected in this study.

Keywords

Body-size; Cerrado; Evolutionary history; Nymphalidae; Phylogeny; Species traits

Subject

BIOLOGY, Entomology

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