Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Marginal eyespots on butterfly wings deflect bird attacks under low light intensities with UV wavelengths
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7303-5632
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3476-3925
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4719-487X
2010 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 5, no 5, e10798- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Predators preferentially attack vital body parts to avoid prey escape. Consequently, prey adaptations that make predators attack less crucial body parts are expected to evolve. Marginal eyespots on butterfly wings have long been thought to have this deflective, but hitherto undemonstrated function. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we report that a butterfly, Lopinga achine, with broad-spectrum reflective white scales in its marginal eyespot pupils deceives a generalist avian predator, the blue tit, to attack the marginal eyespots, but only under particular conditions-in our experiments, low light intensities with a prominent UV component. Under high light intensity conditions with a similar UV component, and at low light intensities without UV, blue tits directed attacks towards the butterfly head. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In nature, birds typically forage intensively at early dawn, when the light environment shifts to shorter wavelengths, and the contrast between the eyespot pupils and the background increases. Among butterflies, deflecting attacks is likely to be particularly important at dawn when low ambient temperatures make escape by flight impossible, and when insectivorous birds typically initiate another day's search for food. Our finding that the deflective function of eyespots is highly dependent on the ambient light environment helps explain why previous attempts have provided little support for the deflective role of marginal eyespots, and we hypothesize that the mechanism that we have discovered in our experiments in a laboratory setting may function also in nature when birds forage on resting butterflies under low light intensities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 5, no 5, e10798- p.
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-45748DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010798ISI: 000278034600025PubMedID: 20520736OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-45748DiVA: diva2:369505
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2010-11-10 Created: 2010-11-10 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Antipredator defence in butterflies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Antipredator defence in butterflies
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Predation exerts a potent selection mechanism and has resulted in a suite of antipredation adaptations encompassing morphological and behavioral traits in prey. In butterflies, several such traits appear to be directed towards birds which are considered as one of their major predators. In this thesis I have investigated tactics by which adult butterflies may survive close encounters with birds. In paper I, I provide supporting evidence that the small white “comma” on females of the comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album, has a distractive function on blue tits and so reduces the attack risk. In paper II & III, I investigate the antipredator efficiency of sudden wing-flicking in two species, the peacock butterfly, Inachis io, and the European swallowtail, Papilio machaon, when confronted with domestic fowl and great tits, respectively. Peacock butterflies were manipulated to either display visible or painted over eyespots. Interestingly, the birds that confronted peacocks with visible eyespots were more likely to utter antipredator alarm calls, which imply that the eyespots may be perceived as real eyes of a potential predator. On the whole, wing-flicking in both species typically induced evasion in the birds which suggests that the birds became frightened rather than perceiving the butterflies as not profitable to attack for some other reason. Moreover, I use blue tits as predators to investigate the possible function of smaller eyespots of satyrine butterflies in that they serve to divert predator attacks. Evidence suggests that low light conditions accentuated in the UV may enhance the deflective function of marginal eyespots in the woodland brown butterfly, Lopinga achine (paper IV). In paper V, I show that the presence of one marginal eyespot on the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, can deflect bird attacks; moreover, when the butterfly is concealed against the background, eyespots can also increase the latency time until bird attack. In conclusion, my thesis underscores that behavioral studies of predators are instrumental to aid our understanding of the adaptive significance of certain behavioral and morphological traits in prey.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2013. 25 p.
Keyword
Antipredator defence, Bird, Crypsis, Predator, Predator-prey interaction, Prey-attack behavior, Butterfly, Deimatic behavior, Eyespots, Startle display
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88115 (URN)978-91-7447-648-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-04-26, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-04-04 Created: 2013-03-06 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Olofsson, MartinJakobsson, SvenWiklund, Christer
By organisation
Department of Zoology
In the same journal
PLoS ONE
Ecology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

doi
pubmed
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
pubmed
urn-nbn
Total: 209 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf