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Butterflies Switch Courtship Roles

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Both males and females of the African butterfly species Bicyclus anynana use conspicuously decorated wings with large, ultraviolet-reflecting "eyespots" to attract mates. Prudic et al. report that males and females reciprocally changes their sexual roles depending on their larval rearing temperature and that this switch correlates with a change in mating benefits to females and costs to males. For larvae reared in the warmer wet season, adult males rapidly beat their wings to flash their distinctive spots to attract female attention. For larvae that experienced the cooler dry season, adult females have more ornamented spots and actively court males. Senior author Antonia Monteiro narrates these courtship behaviors.

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