Not tonight, I'm closing my wings: How female butterflies avoid the attention of over-zealous males


Scientists have found that female butterflies keep their wings closed when they do not want male attention

When being chased by a man, women have a number of techniques to show they are simply not interested.

Now scientists have discovered that butterflies also have a tell-tale sign.

A team in Japan has found that females of the species closed their wings when they want to avoid unwanted male attention.

They say that by folding away the wings, which often have striking patterns, they are less visible to males.

The research was carried out by the Kurume Institute of Technology in Fukuora and published in the journal Ethology.

The head of the team, Jun-Ya Ide, noticed during analysis of small copper butterflies that they often closed their wings when others flew nearby.

He decided this required further investigation so used a male model to trigger a reaction in the females.

Female small copper butterflies only mate once during their lifetime

He at first believed that the closure of wings was used to avoid the harassment of males.

But as the small copper butterflies only have sex once in their entire life, he then used the model with females who had mated.

'When I brought the model close to a mated female, she often closed the wings,' he told BBC Nature.

He then tried with virgin females of the species and discovered that they left their wings open.

'I concluded that, since females don't need more copulations, they close their wings to conceal themselves,' Dr Ide added.

source: dailymail