In Butterfly Biology Systems Roger Dennis explores key topics and contentious issues in butterfly biology, specifically those in life history and behaviour. Uniquely, using a systems approach, the book focuses on the degree of integration and feedback between components and elements affecting each issue, as well as the links between different issues.
The book comprises four sections. The first two sections introduce the reader to principles and approaches for investigating complex relationships, and provide a platform of knowledge on butterfly biology. The final two sections deal in turn with life history and behaviour, covering key issues affecting different stages of development from eggs to adults.
The book is extensively illustrated with original diagrams and models, all of which have detailed legends, produced to enhance a broader understanding, and to provide templates for future research. It includes a detailed bibliography and glossary providing an essential gateway to the extensive literature on butterfly biology.
Butterfly Biology Systems is essential reading for graduate students and researchers in insect ecology, evolution, behaviour and conservation. It will also be of great value to anyone interested in butterflies.
SECTION A: LANGUAGE AND CONCEPTS OF SYSTEMS THEORY
Chapter A1: Reality, abstractions and systems
Chapter A2: Types of systems
Chapter A3: Structure and relationship in systems
Chapter A4: Systems’ states
Chapter A5: Measurement of relationships in systems
Chapter A6: Catering for taxa and phylogenies
Chapter A7: Systematic reviews of research findings: meta-analysis and evidence-based programmes
SECTION B: PERSPECTIVES ON BUTTERFLY BIOLOGY
Chapter B1: Taxonomic constraints in biological systems
Chapter B2: The time frame in butterfly biology systems
Chapter B3: The space frame for butterfly biology systems
Chapter B4: Habitat: the context for individuals and populations
Chapter B5: The butterfly body frame: basic contrasts in butterfly biology
Chapter B6: Trade-offs and regulation in butterfly biology
Chapter B7: Model taxa
Chapter B8: Butterfly databases
Chapter B9: Basic connections and broad divisions in butterfly biology
SECTION C: BUTTERFLY LIFE HISTORY – BASIC TRADE-OFFS IN REPRODUCTION, DEVELOPMENT AND SURVIVAL
Chapter C1: Size, brood number and development: fewer large eggs or more small eggs?
Chapter C2: Conundrum of larval growth: fast and small, slow and large, or neither?
Chapter C3: Alternatives to continuous development: to stay and adjust or leave?
Chapter C4: Single or gregarious living? Host drivers and taxon dependence
Chapter C5: Conundrums in mating: when, how often and how long?
Chapter C6: Income versus capital breeders: Invest now and pay later, or pay as you go?
Chapter C7: Mechanisms for survival: an arsenal for all occasions
Chapter C8: Mimicry: honest and dishonest signals of unpalatability
Chapter C9: Mechanisms extending survival into exploitation
Chapter C10: Adult lifespan: the implications of living for longer
SECTION D: BUTTERFLY BEHAVIOUR – INTERACTIVE ADJUSTMENTS IN THE HABITAT
Chapter D1: The context and dimensions for observing individual behaviour
Chapter D2: Basking modes, heat and water balance: adjustments to abiotic conditions
Chapter D3: Adult Feeding – refuelling strategies
Chapter D4: Mate location – finding suitable mates
Chapter D5: Courtship – doing the business
Chapter D6: Roost and rest sites – taking a break
Chapter D7: Egg laying – unloading the next generation
Chapter D8: Larval feeding – body building under duress
Chapter D9: Choosing pupation sites – selecting sites for the final transformation
Chapter D10: Adult anti-predator behaviour – life and death in the habitat
Roger Dennis has spent 50 years researching into butterfly ecology, biogeography and conservation during which he has produced over 220 publications. His previous book on a resource-based view for conservation received the British Ecological Society’s Book of the Year in 2012. A Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Royal Entomological Society, he is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the NERC’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, and an Honorary Professor at Staffordshire University and at Oxford Brookes University.
"A lifetime's work by a legend in his field, this inspirational book delves deep into the life history and behaviour of butterflies. [...] this is a tour de force. Whether you are an amateur entomologist, an academic researcher working on lepidopterans, or simply curious about the journey of insect eggs to beautiful adults, you should at least dip into this landmark volume."
– Des Thompson, The Niche 53(2), summer 2022