Free-flying males of the checkered white butterfly, Pieris protodice, were presented with tethered females that varied with respect to both size (as measured by forewing length) and age (as measured by wing wear). Because males make a substantial investment in their offspring through nutrients passed to the female during copulation, they were expected to court young and large females for longer times than older and smaller females, and they did so. Additional experiments further suggest that size discriminations are made on the basis of apparent wing area and age discriminations are made on the basis of an age-related increase in ultraviolet reflectance that occurs in females. The discussion examines the adaptive value of these discriminations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology