Wednesday, 29 October 2003

This presentation is part of : Display Presentations, Section Cd. Behavior and Ecology

Mudpuddling Papilio and Battus swallowtail butterflies (Papilionidae) have different mechanisms for social facilitation

B. Locke, Gard W. Otis, Nicole G. McKenzie, D. Cheung, E.C. MacLeod, and A. Kwoon. University of Guelph, Dept. of Environmental Biology, Guelph, ON, Canada

Male butterflies aggregate at moist soil to acquire nutrients such as sodium, a phenomenon conventionally termed "mud-puddling." We studied the attraction of free-flying Papilio glaucus and Battus philenor swallowtails to dead decoys of those two species at artificial "puddles." Both species landed preferentially at soil with a decoy present rather than an unbaited puddle, thereby demonstrating very strong local enhancement, a form of social facilitation in which an organism is attracted to a specific location due to the presence or actions of other organisms. P. glaucus were only attracted to decoys of their own species, whereas B. philenor exhibited both intraspecific and interspecific attraction. A circular disc cut from the hindwing of a male B. philenor was highly attractive to other male B. philenor but completely unattractive to P. glaucus. Our results indicate that males of these two species use different stimuli to locate salts.

Species 1: Lepidoptera Papilionidae Papilio glaucus (Tiger Swallowtail)
Species 2: Lepidoptera Papilionidae Battus Philenor (Pipevine Swallowtail)
Keywords: local enhancement, species-specific attraction

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