|Rapala in my backyard (false head raised)|
|Lines radiating from the false head (Spindasis)|
Now here comes another twist - Cordero in 2001 suggested that predators preferentially attack the rear ends of butterflies and that the false head served to deflect the attacker making them come into view and increasing the likelihood of timely evasive action !
In the Sunderbans, there was an idea of using a face mask behind the head to reduce the attacks on people by tigers, which typically ambush from behind. The idea was that the tiger would try to approach from the front giving more time and a chance for the person to make an escape. Apparently tigers are now beginning to discriminate the false face. It should be interesting to look out for and observe the behaviour of lynx spiders near Lycaenids.
Vijay Barve - photograph of Spindasis vulcanus (Creative Commons /Wikimedia)
- Cordero, C. (2001) A different look at the false head of butterflies. Ecological Entomology 26:106-108.
- Robbins, Robert K (1980) The Lycaenid "False Head" Hypothesis: Historical Review and Quantitative Analysis. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society. 34(2):194-208.
- Cooper, WE Jr. (1998) Conditions favoring anticipatory and reactive displays deflecting predatory attack. Behavioral Ecology 9(6):598-604.
- Robbins, Robert K. (1981) The ’false head’ hypothesis: predation and wing pattern variation of lycaenid butterflies. American Naturalist, 118(5): 770-5.
- Vlieger, L & Brakefield PM (2007) The deflection hypothesis: eyespots on the margins of butterfly wings do not influence predation by lizards. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 92(4):661-667.
- Ullasa Kodandaramaiah, Adrian Vallin, Christer Wiklund (2009) Fixed eyespot display in a butterfly thwarts attacking birds. Animal Behaviour 77:1415–1419.
- Olofsson M, Vallin A, Jakobsson S, Wiklund C (2010) Marginal Eyespots on Butterfly Wings Deflect Bird Attacks Under Low Light Intensities with UV Wavelengths. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10798.
- Lyytinen, A., Brakefield, P. M. and Mappes, J. 2003. Significance of butterfly eyespots as an anti-predator device in ground-based and aerial attacks. Oikos 100:373–379.