Transparency reduces predator detection in mimetic clearwing butterflies
Arias, M., Mappes, J., Desbois, C., Gordon, S., McClure, M., Elias, M., Nokelainen, O., & Gomez, D. (2019). Transparency reduces predator detection in mimetic clearwing butterflies. Functional Ecology, 33(6), 1110-1119. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13315
Published inFunctional Ecology
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaBiologisten vuorovaikutusten huippututkimusyksikköEcology and Evolutionary BiologyCentre of Excellence in Biological Interactions Research
© 2019 The Authors. Functional Ecology © 2019 British Ecological Society
1. Predation is an important selective pressure, and some prey have evolved conspicuous warning signals that advertise unpalatability (i.e., aposematism) as an antipredator defence. Conspicuous colour patterns have been shown effective as warning signals, by promoting predator learning and memory. Unexpectedly, some butterfly species from the unpalatable tribe Ithomiini possess transparent wings, a feature rare on land but common in water, known to reduce predator detection. 2. We tested whether transparency of butterfly wings was associated with decreased detectability by predators, by comparing four butterfly species exhibiting different degrees of transparency, ranging from fully opaque to largely transparent. We tested our prediction using both wild birds and humans in behavioural experiments. Vision modelling predicted butterfly detectability to be similar for these two predator types. 3. In concordance with predictions, the most transparent species were almost never found first and were detected less often than the opaque species by both birds and humans, suggesting that transparency enhances crypsis. However, humans were able to learn to better detect the more transparent species over time. 4. Our study demonstrates for the first time that transparency on land likely decreases detectability by visual predators. ...
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Dataset(s) related to the publicationhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.17pk7v8
Publication in research information system
MetadataShow full item record
Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Centre of Excellence, AoF
Additional information about fundingThe study was funded by the Academy of Finland (Grants 2100000256 and 21000038821), the Clearwing ANR programme (ANR‐16‐CE02‐0012) and the Human Frontier Science Program grant (RGP 0014/2016).
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