Butterfly Social Scene: When It’s Cool Females Pursue The Males

The male butterfly thrives when he plays it cool.

In cool dry air, female butterflies defy the conventional sex roles by pursuing males, according to a new paper by Yale University researchers in the journal Science.

The new study says that in warm climates male butterflies are the suitors, displaying wing designs in order to entice females who do the choosing.

“Behavior in these butterflies is changed by the temperatures experienced during development,” explained Kathleen L. Prudic, a post-doctoral researcher at Yale and co-author of the new paper.

Moreover, female butterflies that have been raised in the cool season and have become active in courting males end up living longer lives than butterflies raised in the warm season that assume a passive role in mate-shopping.

Prudic and her collaborator, Antonia Monteiro, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology focused their research on female squinting bush brown butterflies.


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