Zeitschrift für vergleichende Physiologie

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 99–116

Studies on the mating behavior of the White Cabbage Butterfly, Pieris rapae crucivora Boisduval

III. Near-ultra-violet reflection as the signal of intraspecific communication
  • Yoshiaki Obara


  1. 1.

    The sexual behavior of this species is initiated by the male's approach to the female, which is released by the specific wing color of the female.

  2. 2.

    This specific female wing color, probably distinguishable from that of the male to insect eyes but not to those of humans, contains a near-ultra-violet component of 380 to 400 mμ, as an essential agent for the release of the sexual activities of the male.

  3. 3.

    The operation of the later stages of the sexual behavior, as well as its initiation phase, depends almost exclusively on the optical properties of the female wing color.

  4. 4.

    Olfaction probably plays no rôle in any process of the sexual behavior.

  5. 5.

    The markings on the wing play no essential rôle in eliciting the sexual response in males, and accuracy in the shape and size of the wing is not indispensable for the operation of the sexual behavior in the male.

  6. 6.

    No particular courtship or rituals are recognized in any process of the sexual behavior.

  7. 7.

    Discussion is presented in connection with the specific change in hue of the female wings according to seasonal or climatic factors, which results from the fact that ultra-violet light is easily absorbable by the atmosphere or clouds. The significance of this hue change as a signal in intraspecific communication is also discussed.

  8. 8.

    Such social behaviors as swarming, “flutter response” and so on are discussed in terms of optical phenomena especially of the near-ultra-violet reflection, which constitutes the main cue in eliciting sexual responses in the male.



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoshiaki Obara
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of BiologyTokyo University of Agriculture and TechnologyTokyoJapan

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