The only blue Mimeresia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Lipteninae) uses a color-generating mechanism widely applied by butterflies

Zsolt Bálint, Szabolcs Sáfián, Adrian Hoskins, Krisztián Kertész, Antal Adolf Koós, Zsolt Endre Horváth, Gábor Piszter, László Péter Biró

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The butterfly Mimeresia neavei (Joicey &Talbot, 1921) is the only species in the exclusively African subtribal clade Mimacraeina (Lipteninae: Lycaenidae: Lepidoptera) having sexual dimorphism expressed by structurally blue-colored male and pigmentary colored orange–red female phenotypes. We investigated the optical mechanism generating the male blue color by various microscopic and experimental methods. It was found that the blue color is produced by the lower lamina of the scale acting as a thin film.This kind of color production is not rare in day-flying Lepidoptera, or in other insect orders.The biological role of the blue color of M. neavei is not yet well understood, as all the other species in the clade lack structural coloration, and have less pronounced sexual dimorphism, and are involved in mimicry-rings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberiey046
JournalJournal of Insect Science
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Lycaenidae
  • Mimicry
  • Thin film
  • Wing scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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