Are there caterpillars on butterfly wings?

| December 30, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail by Vicki DeLoach |Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Media Type: Article - Recent

Date of Publication: Winter 2015

Year of Publication: 2015

Publisher: The Lepidopterists' Society

Author(s): Darryl Wheye, Paul R Ehrlich

Journal: News of The Lepidopterists’ Society

Volume: 57: 4

Pages: 182-193

Categories: ,

Visually interesting butterflies make likely subjects for a collaboration between the arts and sciences. In this case, an artist’s attention to the detailed patterns on the wings of some butterflies revealed their resemblance to caterpillars and sparked the following investigation.

“In a recent conversation, DW (an artist who has worked with butterflies and birds and has been involved in encouraging partnerships between scientists and artists) pointed out to PE (who has also been involved in encouraging such collaborations) that certain butterfly wing-pattern elements seem to resemble larvae. We decided to take a closer look. Here we consider the connection between the patterns of some larvae and adults, and ask if the apparent resemblances are coincidental, especially given the amount of variation in patterns, or adaptive. “

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