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“I have a headache” – butterfly body language


There is a certain female butterfly that once she has mated, she’s had enough. The Small Copper Butterfly, observed by Japanese researchers, has a definite method to brushing off her suitors. She closes her wings, shuts up tight, and tries to look inconspicuous.

Observations of this colorful orange and black butterfly showed that they react to males flying by with the closure of their wings. But researchers noticed this was only with male butterflies of their own species. They couldn’t care less about other butterflies.

“When we looked into why, the males were courting the females. They do this very stubbornly, so the females sometimes try to get away – or prefer to stay unobserved,” noted Jun-Ya Ide, an associate professor at Kurume Institute of Technology in Fukuoka, Japan.

They brought a model of a male butterfly (the equivalent of a blow up doll?) and waived it near the females. The females kept their wings opened if they were willing to mate. If the females had already mated, they closed their wings. It seems once is enough.

It seems the males can actually harm the females with their persistent mating habits and if the females flee, they will fly after them. This burns the females energy reserves and can shorten her life.

“We figured they were trying to avoid sexual harassment by males,” concluded Ide.

Source: Reuters


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