Tasty butterflies turn sour without toxic wingmen

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Tasty butterflies turn sour without toxic wingmen Doug Wechsler/Minden Pictures Viceroy butterflies are notorious tricksters. They sport a striking pattern of orange and black nearly identical to two other species—the terrible-tasting monarch and the equally nasty queen butterfly. Birds that eat these bitter insects quickly learn to avoid them—and their convincing viceroy doppelgängers. But a new study reveals that when queens aren’t around, the viceroys themselves start to take on a terrible flavor.Viceroys (above) and queen butterflies are found widely throughout southern Florida, where they both feed on noxious plants; only the queens were known to store the plants’ distasteful chemicals in their bodies. But viceroys also thrive in the northern part of the state, where the queens are not found. (Monarchs are comparatively uncommon in Florida.)To find out how the viceroys protect themselves without the bitter queens, researchers chemically analyzed 80 butterflies from northern Florida and 80 more from the state’s south. Sure enough, the ones from the south had low concentrations of phenolic glycosides, chemicals similar to the ones that impart the awful taste in queens. But the viceroys from the north were chock-full of the stuff. The team then tried to feed the viceroys to lab-reared mantises, which were repulsed by the northern variety. The results suggest that without a model, the viceroys have evolved their own foul taste, the researchers report this month in Nature Communications Biology. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Jake BuehlerFeb. 27, 2019 , 4:05 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email The finding also challenges the conventional understanding of how certain species become copycats. Often, such animals are considered harmless imitators of acrid-tasting species or just one lookalike in a set of other distasteful species. But the viceroys exist somewhere in between the two. With these duplicitous body doubles, where appearances are everything, there’s far more than meets the eye.last_img read more