The Birds

    Butterflies Mimic Each Other's Flight Patterns To Evade Predators: Study

    Inam Ansari
    February27/ 2024

    Los Angeles: Researchers have discovered that inedible butterfly species that replicate one other's colour patterns have developed similar flight habits to warn predators and avoid being eaten. It is well known that many inedible butterfly species have evolved nearly identical colour patterns that serve as warning signals to predators, allowing the butterflies to avoid being eaten. Researchers have now demonstrated that these butterflies have developed not only identical colour patterns but also comparable flight habits, resulting in a more effective warning signal to predators. Using high-speed video footage to record the flight of wild butterflies in South America, researchers at the University of York measured the wing beat frequency and wing angles of 351 butterflies, representing 38 species each belonging to one of 10 distinct colour pattern mimicry groups. Using this dataset they investigated how the flight patterns of butterflies are related to factors such as habitat, wing shape, temperature and which colour pattern mimicry group the butterfly belongs to see which elements most heavily affected flight behaviour. Although the species habitat and wing shape were expected to have the greatest influence on flight behaviour, the researchers found that in fact, the biggest determinant of flight behaviour was the colour pattern mimicry group a butterfly belonged to. This means that distantly related butterflies belonging to the same colour pattern mimicry group have more similar flight behaviour than closely related species that display different warning colouration. To a predator, the butterflies would not only look the same through their colour patterns but would also move in the same way. Edd Page, PhD student from the Department o ...

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