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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #142596

Title: Wing-click sounds of Heliconius cydno alithea (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) butterflies

item Mankin, Richard

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/2003
Publication Date: 5/1/2004
Citation: Hay-Roe, M.M., Mankin, R.W. 2004. Wing-click sounds of Heliconius cydno alithea (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) butterflies. Journal of Insect Behavior. 17:329-335.

Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the University of Florida and the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, FL, have cooperated in basic studies about acoustic communication among butterflies. Very little is known about insect communication and only a few butterfly species communicate with acoustic signals. The signals were very weak and were technically difficult to record and analyze. Improved knowledge of how different insects communicate with each other and improved techniques for detection and analysis of these sounds may lead to development of new methods to interfere with communication in pest insects.

Technical Abstract: Wild Heliconius cydno Doubleday females were observed producing short trains of 3-10 wing-clicks at the rate of about 10 clicks/s. Sounds were recorded at roosting time and during the day in encounters between conspecifics. The individual clicks had a mean duration of 1.48 ms and a broad frequency spectrum, with a peak near 1075 Hz. This peak lies near the 1200-Hz frequency of maximal sensitivity measured previously for a close relative, H. erato (L). The sound production may serve as a form of communication between members of the species.