Effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the threatened scarce large blue butterfly - A fine-scale experiment

Ádám Korösi, István Szentirmai, P. Batáry, Szilvia Kövér, Noémi Örvössy, László Peregovits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As part of a major transformation of the EU agriculture in the last few decades, traditional land-use types disappeared due to either intensification or abandonment. Grasslands are highly affected in this process and are consequently among the most threatened semi-natural habitats in Europe. However, experimental evidence is scarce on the effects of management types on biodiversity. Moreover, management types need to be feasible within the recently changed socio-economic circumstances in Hungary. We investigated the effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the abundance of the scarce large blue butterfly (Phengaris teleius), on the abundance of its host plant and on the frequency of its host ant species. In each of four study meadows, we applied four types of management: one cut per year in May, one cut per year in September, two cuts per year (May and September) and cessation of management. After three years of experimental management, we found that adult butterflies preferred plots cut once in September over plots cut twice per year and abandoned ones, while plots cut once in May were also preferred over abandoned plots. Relative host plant abundance remarkably increased in plots cut once in September. Management did not affect the occupancy pattern of Myrmica host ants. Invasive goldenrod was successfully retained by two cuts per year. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to test management effects on the whole community module of a socially parasitic butterfly, its host plant and host ants. Based on the results, we provide recommendations on regional management of the scarce large blue's habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Volume196
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2014

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mowing
butterfly
butterflies
host plant
ant
experiment
Formicidae
host plants
habitat
Myrmica
meadow
effect
habitats
grassland
Hungary
biodiversity
meadows
agriculture
land use
socioeconomics

Keywords

  • Abandonment
  • Central Europe
  • Grasslands
  • Habitat management
  • Traditional land-use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology

Cite this

Effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the threatened scarce large blue butterfly - A fine-scale experiment. / Korösi, Ádám; Szentirmai, István; Batáry, P.; Kövér, Szilvia; Örvössy, Noémi; Peregovits, László.

In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Vol. 196, 15.10.2014, p. 24-33.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Korösi, Ádám ; Szentirmai, István ; Batáry, P. ; Kövér, Szilvia ; Örvössy, Noémi ; Peregovits, László. / Effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the threatened scarce large blue butterfly - A fine-scale experiment. In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 2014 ; Vol. 196. pp. 24-33.
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