Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens Deerfield MA
"Field-collected Heliconius cydno Doubleday females were observed producing audible wing clicks during encounters between conspecifics in greenhouses in a large insectary during the day and at roosting time. Occasionally, these females also were observed producing sounds in aggressive encounters with females of a close relative, H. erato (L). However, the wing-clicks were not observed subsequently from first-generation adults born in the greenhouses. ....... The production of these previously unreported sounds suggests that wing-clicks may play a role in both intra- and interspecific communications among Heliconius species."
"Future studies may clarify whether sound production is a widespread phenomenon within Heliconius and whether members of different species (e.g., within and between mimicry rings) can use sound to communicate with one another."
source: "Wing-Click Sounds of Heliconius cydno alithwa (Nymphalidea: Hrliconiinae) Butterflies," Mirian Medina Hay-Roe and Richard W. Mankin, Journal of Insect Behavior, Vol.17, No.3, May 2004
Butterflies may use polarized light as a mating signal, according to a Brief Communication in the May 1 Nature. The brightly coloured iridescent wings of some butterflies, such as Heliconius cydno, are able to polarize the light that bounces off them. Alison Sweeney of Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panama, and colleagues watched the behaviour of male butterflies from iridescent and non-iridescent species when they were shown the wings of their female counterparts through polarizing or depolarizing filters. Male Heliconius cydno iridescent butterflies approached female wings less often when they no longer appeared to be polarized. In contrast, the filters made no difference to the ardent responses of non-iridescent male Heliconius melpomene butterflies. The team believes that this is the first example of polarized light being used for mate recognition on land. The strategy may have adaptive value for species living in dense forest, where illumination varies greatly both in spectrum and intensity.
Source:“Insect communication: Polarized light as a butterfly mating signal,” Alison Sweeney, Christopher Jiggins & Sönke Johnsen , Nature, May 1, 2003
Abstract © 2003 Nature
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