Biology

Success of Lepidoptera populations is dependent upon several factors in the climatic and biotic environment, interrelated with the insects' behavior. First, larval foods, and for most species adult nourishment, must be available. Climatic conditions suitable for mating and oviposition, larval feeding, and pupation are necessary. Females must find appropriate places for deposition of eggs. Larvae must sense proper foods, eat, molt, grow, and pupate. Pupae need to avoid desiccation and other factors that might prevent successful adult eclosion. Finally, egg, larval, and pupal parasites and predators have to combine to take all but two of the offspring of each female (whose eggs may number 200-600 or more) that survive physical dangers, but on average they cannot exceed that, in order to maintain stable population levels.

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