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As a result of recent climate change, many species are rapidly altering their geographic ranges, in a phenomenon known as range shifting. In general, the shifts tend to be geographically poleward or upslope, but there is a lot of variation in the magnitude or direction of contemporary range shifts. Theory suggests that specialization might constrain range shift responses. In this experiment, we examined the relationship between the magnitude and direction of range shift responses and degree of diet specialization of Ohio butterfly larvae. We used a long-term monitoring dataset of butterfly range dynamics to test this relationship. Surprisingly, we did not find any association between the range shift responses and the dietary specialization, after accounting for the shared evolutionary history among species. In future work, different methods of quantifying diet breadth may reveal an association. Further research in the same area will be focused on finding other traits that may be predictive of range shifts.

Symposium Date

Fall 12-1-2012


butterflies--Ohio, range shifts, diet breadth



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Does Diet Breadth Resolve Variation in Climate Driven Range Shifts of Ohio Butterflies?

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