图片来源:Susan Finkbeiner

每当夜晚睡觉的时候来临,红色邮差蝶(Heliconius erato)总是会四五成群地栖息在一起。为了搞清其中的奥秘,研究人员在巴拿马和哥斯达黎加的森林中悬挂了数以千计的假红色邮差蝶。




美国加利福尼亚大学欧文分校的昆虫学家Susan D. Finkbeiner和巴拿马的同事一道,在3月20日的英国《皇家学会学报B》Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 网络版上报告了这一研究成果。


The benefit of being a social butterfly: communal roosting deters predation

Finkbeiner, Susan D.; Briscoe, Adriana D.; Reed, Robert D.

Aposematic passion-vine butterflies from the genus Heliconius form communal roosts on a nightly basis. This behaviour has been hypothesized to be beneficial in terms of information sharing and/or anti-predator defence. To better understand the adaptive value of communal roosting, we tested these two hypotheses in field studies. The information-sharing hypothesis was addressed by examining following behaviour of butterflies departing from natural roosts. We found no evidence of roost mates following one another to resources, thus providing no support for this hypothesis. The anti-predator defence hypothesis was tested using avian-indiscriminable Heliconius erato models placed singly and in aggregations at field sites. A significantly higher number of predation attempts were observed on solitary models versus aggregations of models. This relationship between aggregation size and attack rate suggests that communally roosting butterflies enjoy the benefits of both overall decreased attack frequency as well as a prey dilution effect. Communal roosts probably deter predators through collective aposematism in which aggregations of conspicuous, unpalatable prey communicate a more effective repel signal to predators. On the basis of our results, we propose that predation by birds is a key selective pressure maintaining Heliconius communal roosting behaviour.





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