A method for recording and transcribing observation of butterfly behaviour.
Techniques such as mark-release-recapture (Begon, 1979) and transects (Pollard et al., 1975; 1986) either singly or combined (e.g. Thomas, 1983) provide much information on the abundance and population structure of butterfly species. However, these techniques cannot provide detailed information on how a particular butterfly species interacts with its environment or with other organisms. To obtain information on how butterflies exploit the resources in a particular habitat, and hence define the essential and optimal requirements of a species, requires data on butterfly behaviour.
Observations of butterflies can be easily made in the field using small portable tape-recorders; subsequently they may then be transcribed and analysed. Studies of butterfly behaviour, in the field margins of winter-wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), were made from 1985-87 during which a convenient, flexible, shorthand was developed to express butterfly behaviour. Details of the shorthand, together with some comments on equipment, are presented here to facilitate studies by other workers.