Climate-dependent dispersal rates in metapopulations of burnet moths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Predicted climate change implies warmer weather and a higher frequency of extreme weather situations. The consequences of the warm July in 2003 was investigated in contrast to the cold July in 2004 in southern Sweden with focus on the dispersal rate of two species of burnet moths (Zygaenidae). During an extensive mark-release-recapture program in metapopulations of burnet moths substantial differences in inter habitat patch dispersal rates were observed. For two species of Zygaena it was 2.14 and 2.18 times higher during the warm year. Measured patch dispersal rate significantly declined towards the edges of the large study-area, suggesting that individuals disperse outside the study-area. No significant differences in dispersal rates were found between the two species studied. The dispersal rates were similar for both females and males, and no density dependent effects on dispersal or effects of amount of nectar rich flowers were found. Dispersal events appeared as distinct movements, often reaching several kilometres. We conclude that dispersal depend on climatic conditions. Exceptionally warm years may be especially important for survival of certain species in metapopulation systems and this may be crucial for the survival of populations during scenarios of climate change.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Butterflies, Climate change, Connectivity, Conservation, Habitat, Landscape, Movement, Mobility
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-947
JournalJournal of Insect Conservation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch