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    After over 30 years of research, it was recently shown that nectar amino acids increase female butterfly fecundity. However, little attention has been paid to the effect of nectar amino acids on male butterfly reproduction. Here, we show that larval food conditions (nitrogen-rich vs. nitrogen-poor host plants) and adult diet quality (nectar with or without amino acids) affected the amount of consumed nectar in Coenonympha pamphilus males. Furthermore, amino acids in the nectar diet of males increased progeny's larval hatching mass, irrespective of paternal larval reserves. Our study takes the whole reproductive cycle of male butterflies into account, and also considers the role of females in passing male nutrients to offspring, as males' realized reproduction was examined indirectly via nuptial gifts, by female performance. With this comprehensive approach, we demonstrate for the first time that nectar amino acids can improve male butterfly reproduction, supporting the old postulate that nectar amino acids generally enhance butterfly fitness.


    Fabian Cahenzli, Andreas Erhardt. Nectar amino acids enhance reproduction in male butterflies. Oecologia. 2013 Jan;171(1):197-205

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    PMID: 22744741

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