Although many butterfly species persist in heavily developed landscapes, it is unclear what factors influence movements of butterflies among urban habitat patches. We used mark-recapture and translocation experiments to assess residency and movement of the highly successful urban butterfly, Pieris rapae, within and among community gardens of New York City. Although the majority of marked butterflies used gardens transiently, a small number remained for several days. Recruitment (via pupation and/or immigration) and residence time of P. rapae adults was higher in larger gardens and gardens with more flowers. Residence time, but not recruitment, was influenced by the amount of surrounding green space. When translocated outside of gardens, butterflies readily moved to a variety of other urban green spaces including street trees, street plantings and other small patches of vegetation. This study demonstrate the ability of P. rapae to move through heavily developed landscapes and to locate floral resources, factors which may contribute to this species success in urbanized landscapes.
Matteson, Kevin C. and Langellotto, Gail
"Evaluating Community Gardens as Habitat for an Urban Butterfly,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
1, Article 10.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol5/iss1/10