Landscape and fine-scale movements of a leaf beetle: the importance of boundary behaviour


Chapman DS, Dytham C & Oxford GS (2007) Landscape and fine-scale movements of a leaf beetle: the importance of boundary behaviour. Oecologia, 154 (1), pp. 55-64.

Movement underpins animal spatial ecology and is often modelled as habitat-dependent correlated random walks. Here, we develop such a model for the flightless tansy leaf beetle Chrysolina graminis moving within and between patches of its host plant tansy Tanacetum vulgare. To parameterize the model, beetle movement paths on timescales of minutes were observed in uniform plots of tansy and inter-patch matrix (meadow) vegetation. Movement lasted longer, covered greater distances and had narrower turning angles in the matrix. Simulations of the model emulated an independent two-season multi-patch mark–resight study at daily timescales and included variable boundary-mediated behaviour affecting the probability of leaving habitat patches. As boundaries in the model became stronger there were disproportionately large decreases in net displacements, inter-patch movements and the proportion of beetles in the matrix. The model produced realistic patterns of population-level displacement over periods up to 13 days with fully permeable boundaries for one dataset and strong boundaries for the other. This may be explained by the heights of the tansy patches in each study, as beetles will be unable to cross the boundary near the top of a patch that emerges from the matrix. The simulations demonstrate the important effects of boundary behaviour on displacement patterns and indicate temporal and spatial variability in permeability. Realistic models of movement must therefore include behaviour at habitat boundaries.

Chrysomelidae; Colonization; Diffusion; Dispersal; Random walk

Oecologia: Volume 154, Issue 1

FundersNatural Environment Research Council
Publication date30/11/2007
Publication date online28/07/2007
Date accepted by journal27/06/2007