SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL & HELP SUPPORT BATS

Wing Bling: For Female Butterflies, Flashier Is Better

Butterflies


‎(June 11, 2012) — If female butterflies are programmed to identify males of their species by the patterns of spots on their wings, how can new wing patterns evolve in males?


Yale scientists have discovered that female butterflies can be taught to prefer mates with more spots on their wings. (Credit: William Piel and Antónia Monteiro)


The answer is that while females are predisposed to prefer a specific pattern, they learn to like flashier ones more, according to a new Yale University study.
The study published online the week of June 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences gives a partial explanation of an evolutionary mystery.
Biologists used to think that preference for certain traits such as wing spots are hardwired into insects. But that left scientists wondering how butterflies managed to evolve such great diversity in their wing coloration.
The Yale team studied the butterfly species Bicyclus anynana, which in the wild has two spots on its forewings (the tops of the wings). The researchers found that female butterflies of the species learn to prefer males with four spots on their forewings over those with two spots.
"What surprised us was that females learn this preference after being in the presence of males for just a very short period of time," said Erica L. Westerman of Yale's Department of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology (EEB) and lead author "The male did not have to court them or engage in flashy behavior."
While other studies have found that invertebrates can learn new preferences, the Yale researchers were surprised to find that an insect species like the butterfly actually can learn to favor some wing patterns more than others.
When exposed to butterflies with four brilliant ultraviolet-reflecting spots for only three hours, females no longer show preference for the type of males found in the wild. But females initially exposed to drabber males with one or zero spots did not change their original preferences.
"There is a bias in what females learn, and they learn extra ornamentation is better," said Antónia Monteiro, EEB professor and senior author of the paper.
The findings that social environment can change mating preference of female butterflies helps explain how novel wing patterns evolve, say the researchers Now Westerman wants to discover how female butterflies learn to make these choices.
"What we have found is a previously unexplored mechanism for biasing the evolution of morphological diversity," Westerman said. "We are now investigating what other cues are being evaluated during the learning period and what prevents females from mating with members of other species."
Study was funded by the National Science Foundation and Yale.
Yale's Andrea Hodgins-Davis and April Dinwiddie were co-authors of the paper.

COMMENTS

WildLife Rules! Help Save WildLife
Name

aggag,14,Backyard,28,Barbed Wire,2,Birds,69,Bob Irwin,9,Books,2,Butterflies,8,cat,11,Cats-Big,8,commercial animals,23,Crocodile,1,Dingoes,7,Echidna,3,Elephant,2,Events,6,Frog,3,Insects,10,introduced species,19,Kangaroo,30,Koala,19,MISC,26,monkey,15,NewsLetters,3,Ocean,32,Pics,10,polls,2,possum,22,Promoting,42,Quotes,17,Rehab,27,Reptiles,22,Rescue,9,SeaSepherd,3,Spiders,5,Vegetation,22,Video,116,WebSites-wildlife,33,Whales,20,Wildlife Issues,89,Wombat,3,
ltr
item
WildLife_Rules!: Wing Bling: For Female Butterflies, Flashier Is Better
Wing Bling: For Female Butterflies, Flashier Is Better
Butterflies
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PBV2zCh1vxQ/T9ilxFgUBaI/AAAAAAAAAog/hukEEzYF0JQ/s320/120611153115.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PBV2zCh1vxQ/T9ilxFgUBaI/AAAAAAAAAog/hukEEzYF0JQ/s72-c/120611153115.jpg
WildLife_Rules!
http://www.wildliferules-helpsavewildlife.info/2012/06/wing-bling-for-female-butterflies.html
http://www.wildliferules-helpsavewildlife.info/
http://www.wildliferules-helpsavewildlife.info/
http://www.wildliferules-helpsavewildlife.info/2012/06/wing-bling-for-female-butterflies.html
true
8714048168060258218
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy