Monday, 12 August 2019

Like moths to a colorful flame

AUGUST 9, 2019

A nocturnal moth may be using its colorful wing patterns to attract a female mate, according to new research led by The University of Western Australia and the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Switzerland.

Animals that are active at night are thought to rely on senses other than vision, such as smell and vibrations but the new study has discovered a nocturnal moth with wing patterns that produce some highly unusual optical effects.

Lead author Jennifer Kelley, an ARC Future Fellow in UWA's School of Biological Sciences, said that the study, published today in Current Biology, was based on a serendipitous discovery at the Western Australian Museum.

"Iridescent colors—those that change with viewing angle—are commonly observed in butterflies and hummingbirds that fly during the day and use these colors for signaling, such as during courtship," Dr. Kelley said.

"This study is the first to find angle-dependent coloration in a nocturnal species, the Dot-underwing moth (Eudocima materna)."

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