The "False Head" Hypothesis: Predation and Wing Pattern Variation of Lycaenid Butterflies

@article{Robbins1981TheH,
  title={The "False Head" Hypothesis: Predation and Wing Pattern Variation of Lycaenid Butterflies},
  author={Robert K. Robbins},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  year={1981},
  volume={118},
  pages={770 - 775}
}
  • R. Robbins
  • Published 1 November 1981
  • Biology
  • The American Naturalist
Camouflage, mimicry, and other forms of deceptive appearances have presumably evolved under selective pressures from predators who hunt by sight (e.g., Cott 1940). A fascinating example of deceptive coloration is the hypothesis that the ventral wing pattern of lycaenid butterflies (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) creates an impression of a head at the posterior end of the butterfly that diverts predator attacks towards the less vulnerable end of the insect (reviewed in Robbins 1980). Predators may… 
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This paper reviews components of wing pattern and behavior which contribute to the appearance of a head, quantify two of these behaviors in the Neotropical "false head" lycaenid, Arawacus aetolus, and suggests that one behavior•landing head downwards•does not enhance the deceptiveness of a " false head".
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Comparative data on failed predator attacks on the hindwings support the hypothesis that males prefer females with damaged FHs because this reveals the female’s ability to defl ect attacks and testing two hypotheses based on this idea.
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Behavioural observations indicate that other aspects of the “false head” help C. xami survive some mantis attacks, supporting the notion that they are adaptations against predators.
Two-headed butterfly vs. mantis: do false antennae matter?
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Behavioural observations indicate that other aspects of the “false head” help C. xami survive some mantis attacks, supporting the notion that they are adaptations against predators.
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The data provide evidence that butterfly eyespots can be an effective defence against lizards, and thus that predation by lizards can select for eyespots in butterflies.
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This study provides no support that marginal eyespot patterns can act as an effective deflection mechanism to avoid lizard or avian predation.
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The hypothesis that behavioural differences between the sexes makes males more prone to receive predator attacks and, thus, a higher frequency of symmetrical damage in the FH of males than in that of females is tested.
BUTTERFLY WING MARKINGS ARE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS DURING HANDLING THAN DURING THE INITIAL STRIKE OF AN AVIAN PREDATOR
TLDR
In the laboratory, six groups of artificially marked dead cabbage butterflies, Pieris rapae, were presented to Blue Jays and each of the six “false head” markings significantly directed predator handling strikes away from the true head of captive butterflies to the anal angle of the hind wing.
ASSOCIATION FOR TROPICAL LEPIDOPTERA
TLDR
Sagittal movement of the hindwings was observed in the Neotropical butterfly Archaeoprepona chromus (Nymphalidae: Preponini) and supports the deflection hypothesis regarding the function of the underside wing pattern (small eyespots) for this and many similar species.
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