Switching Species

Switching Species

Researchers recently discovered a species of moths that have evolved to radically change their mating behavior to mimic butterflies. Researchers noticed these “strange” moths due to their very odd behavior. The adults act much more like butterflies than other moths.

Male moths, which are mostly nocturnal, tend to detect mates by smelling the females’ pheromones from a distance. Once they find a mate, they will then release other pheromones that act like aphrodisiacs to then ensure that they get to “seal the deal.” Diurnal butterflies, on the other hand, detect mates purely by sight, and have actually lost the ability to release the long-range mating pheromones.

The male Paysandisia archon moth has evolved to use butterfly mating behavior due probably to the change from them being nocturnal to diurnal. These moths detect females with only their sight, which is suitable in the daytime sunlit environment. The female moths don’t release pheromones to attract males, and have actually lost the glands that release those pheromones. This is the first species of moths that scientists have ever witnessed behaving like butterflies instead of moths.


Do you think it is possible that other insects may evolve to behave more like other insects in order to adapt to a different environment? What insects might adopt these changes?

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Smithereen Pest Management provides IPM pest services to residential and commercial clients in Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. http://www.smithereen.com/
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