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Intensity contrast as a crucial cue for butterfly landing

  • Hisaharu Koshitaka
  • Kentaro Arikawa
  • Michiyo KinoshitaEmail author
Short Communication

Abstract

Papilio butterflies use a tetrachromatic color vision to discriminate a rewarding flower, approach, land and take nectar from the flower. In the course of further analyzing their foraging behavior in a laboratory condition, we found that some butterflies could not land on the target flower even they discriminated and tried to land on it, especially when the target was dark. This phenomenon, which we call “landing suppression”, indicates that the cue for landing differs from the cue for visually locating a flower. We hypothesized that a possible cue for landing was intensity contrast between the target and background, and have initiated to test this hypothesis. We tested the butterflies’ landing behavior to targets of various colors and intensities presented on background of black or various densities of gray. As a result, the landing was most strongly suppressed when the intensity contrast was close to zero irrespective of the target colors, suggesting that the butterflies used the target-background intensity contrast when landing.

Keywords

Butterfly Foraging behavior Color vision Brightness Intensity contrast 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The work was supported by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the JSPS to MK and KA.

Supplementary material

359_2011_671_MOESM1_ESM.doc (52 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 52 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MPG 6946 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hisaharu Koshitaka
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kentaro Arikawa
    • 2
  • Michiyo Kinoshita
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate School of Integrated SciencesYokohama City UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of NeuroethologySokendai (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)HayamaJapan

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