Flutter Away with Butterfly Dresses by Bibiana Berenguer
Bibiana C. Berenguer is a fashion designer in Barcelona. Her collection in inspired by ethereal dreams and European art history and mythology. You can see this clearly in her ball gowns that transform women into butterfly-like fairies.
Male Milkweed Butterflies Feed On Live Caterpillars To Steal Chemicals Which Function As “Wedding Gifts” To Their Mates
Butterflies are generally peaceful creatures. But not all of them. There are butterflies who are brutal, specifically male milkweed butterflies. These butterflies will do anything to please their mates, including feeding on young caterpillars — their family’s young. Yup. That’s how brutal some butterflies can be. But what reason would they have to target young caterpillars? The answer is, these caterpillars are a great source of chemicals, which the adult males use to produce mating pheromones. These pheromones serve as gifts to the females during courtship.Milkweed butterflies have been previously reported to feed on dead chemical-containing insects, but these butterflies doing the same thing on living insects is a first. PhD candidate Yi-Kai Tea, the lead author of the study, says that this is the first time such behavior was documented.“The behaviour does not fit neatly in the traditional modes of predation, parasitism, or mutualism, and so presents a new challenge to evolutionary theory. We have coined it ‘kleptopharmacophagy’ – chemical theft for consumption.”To supplement the chemical supplies they obtain as caterpillar juveniles, the butterflies engage in a behaviour known as “leaf-scratching”. “They damage [chemical containing] plants with their sharp tarsal claws, liberate plant juices and imbibe them using their long, curly tongues,” said Mr Tea.Scratching at live caterpillars, however, had never previously been reported. “Caterpillars are essentially bags of macerated leaves; the same leaves that contain these potent chemicals the milkweed butterflies seek out. To adult butterflies, they may simply be an alternative source of chemicals on which to feed,” said Mr Tea.The study has been published over at Ecology’s The Scientific Naturalist.Nature sure is weird, and could sometimes be horrible.(Image Credit: Yannkemper/ Wikimedia Commons)#Butterflies #MilkweedButterflies #Kleptopharmacophagy #Mating #Ecology #Entomology #Pheromones #Caterpillars
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