Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (2): 328-333, 2015 | 10.14411/eje.2015.034

Ability of males of two theclini species (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) to discriminate between sexes and different types of females based on the colour of their wings

Michio IMAFUKU, Tasuku KITAMURA
Department of Biology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan; e-mails: imafuku@kyoto.zaq.ne.jp; kitamuratasuku@yahoo.co.jp

Many territorial species of butterfly are sexually dimorphic in their wing colours, and males of such species frequently fight each other, probably attracted by the rival's wing colour. On the other hand, male behaviour should be directed to acquiring mates to increase their fitness, and thus should be sensitive to (usually cryptic) female wing colour. The present experiments aimed to determine whether the conspicuous male colour or cryptic female colour is more attractive to the territorial males of two lycaenid species, Chrysozephyrus smaragdinus and Neozephyrus japonicus. A pair of female and male wing models was presented simultaneously in the field to a male. The results indicate that the males of both species were preferentially attracted by the female wing model. In N. japonicus, in which the wing colour of females is polymorphic, males preferred particular types of female wings, in that they were more strongly attracted to the type-B model with a blue patch on the forewing than the type-O model, which lacked a blue patch.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae, wing colour, polymorphism, sexual discrimination, Chrysozephyrus smaragdinus, Neozephyrus japonicus

Received: July 24, 2014; Accepted: December 18, 2014; Prepublished online: February 3, 2015; Published: April 2, 2015

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