Advertisement

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 209–215 | Cite as

Auditory defence in the peacock butterfly (Inachis io) against mice (Apodemus flavicollis and A. sylvaticus)

  • Martin Olofsson
  • Sven Jakobsson
  • Christer Wiklund
Original Paper

Abstract

Morphological and behavioural traits can serve as anti-predator defence either by reducing detection or recognition risks, or by thwarting initiated attacks. The latter defence is secondary and often involves a ‘startle display’ comprising a sudden release of signals targeting more than one sensory modality. A suggested candidate for employing a multimodal defence is the peacock butterfly, Inachis io, which, by wing-flicking suddenly, produces sonic and ultrasonic sounds and displays four large eyespots when attacked. The eyespots make small birds retreat, but whether the sounds produced thwart predator attacks is largely unknown. Peacocks hibernate as adults in dark wintering sites and employ their secondary defence upon encounter with small rodent predators during this period. In this study, we staged predator–prey encounters in complete darkness in the laboratory between wild mice, Apodemus flavicollis and Apodemus sylvaticus, and peacocks which had their sound production intact or disabled. Results show that mice were more likely to flee from sound-producing butterflies than from butterflies which had their sound production disabled. Our study presents experimental evidence that the peacock butterfly truly employs a multimodal defence with different traits targeting different predator groups; the eyespots target birds and the sound production targets small rodent predators.

Keywords

Anti-predator behaviour Multimodal defence Predator–prey interaction Ultrasonic sound Mice Lepidoptera 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank M. Friberg for statistical advice and U. Kodandaramaiah, B. Tullberg and S. Andersson for valuable comments on the manuscript. We also thank L. Svensson for capture and husbandry of mice.

Supplementary material

ESM 1

(MPG 5.02 MB)

ESM 2

(MPG 5.47 MB)

References

  1. Barber JR, Conner WE (2007) Acoustic mimicry in a predator-prey interaction. P Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:9331–9334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blest AD (1957) The function of eyespot patterns in the Lepidoptera. Behaviour 11:209–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brakefield PM, Shreeve TG, Thomas JA (1992) Avoidance, concealment, and defence. In: Dennis RLH (ed) The ecology of butterflies in Britain. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 93–119Google Scholar
  4. Bura VL, Fleming AJ, Yack JE (2009) What’s the buzz? Ultrasonic and sonic warning signals in caterpillars of the great peacock moth (Saturnia pyri). Naturwissenschaften 96:713–718PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Corcoran AJ, Barber JR, Conner WE (2009) Tiger moth jams bat sonar. Science 325:325–327PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dvořák L, Belicek J, Fric Z (2002) Observations of overwintering nymphalid butterflies in underground shelters in SW and W Bohemia (Czech Republic) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Nymphalini). J Res Lepidoptera 41:45–52Google Scholar
  7. Edmunds M (1974) Defence in animals: a survey of anti-predator defences. Longman Ltd., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Hagen SB, Leinaas HP, Lampe HM (2003) Responses of great tits Parus major to small tortoiseshells Aglais urticae in feeding trials; evidence of aposematism. Ecological Entomology 28:503–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kirchner WH, Roschard J (1999) Hissing in bumblebees: an interspecific defence signal. Insectes Soc 46:239–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Larsen TB (1991) The butterflies of Kenya and their natural history. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. Lind J, Cresswell W (2005) Determining the fitness consequences of antipredation behavior. Behav Ecol 16:945–956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mohl B, Miller LA (1976) Ultrasonic clicks produced by peacock butterfly—possible bat-repellent mechanism. J Exp Biol 64:639–644Google Scholar
  13. Olofsson M, Vallin A, Jakobsson S, Wiklund C (2011) Winter predation on two species of hibernating butterflies: monitoring rodent attacks with infrared cameras. Anim Behav 81:529–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pie MR (2005) Signal evolution in prey recognition systems. Behav Process 68:47–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ratcliffe JM, Nydam ML (2008) Multimodal warning signals for a multiple predator world. Nature 455:96–U59PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rowe C, Guilford T (1999) The evolution of multimodal warning displays. Evol Ecol 13:655–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ruxton GD (2005) Intimidating butterflies. Trends Ecol Evol 20:276–278PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ruxton GD, Sherratt TN, Speed MP (2004) Avoiding attack. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Scott JA (1986) The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  20. Siddall EC, Marples NM (2008) Better to be bimodal: the interaction of color and odor on learning and memory. Behav Ecol 19:425–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Skelhorn J, Rowland HM, Speed MP, Ruxton GD (2010) Masquerade: camouflage without crypsis. Science 327:51PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Thomas JA, Lewington R (2010) The butterflies of Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing Ltd, DorsetGoogle Scholar
  23. Vallin A, Jakobsson S, Lind J, Wiklund C (2005) Prey survival by predator intimidation: an experimental study of peacock butterfly defence against blue tits. P R Soc B 272:1203–1207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Vallin A, Jakobsson S, Lind J, Wiklund C (2006) Crypsis versus intimidation—anti-predation defence in three closely related butterflies. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 59:455–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Vane-Wright RI (1986) The snake hiss of hibernating peacocks—audioBatesian mimicry? Antenna 10:5–6Google Scholar
  26. Wiklund C (2005) Hornet predation on peacock butterflies and ecological aspects on the evolution of complex eyespots on butterfly wings. Entomol Fennica 16:266–272Google Scholar
  27. Wiklund C, Vallin A, Friberg M, Jakobsson S (2008) Rodent predation on hibernating peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 62:379–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Olofsson
    • 1
  • Sven Jakobsson
    • 1
  • Christer Wiklund
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations