Not all caterpillars grow into beautiful butterflies. Some become live milkshakes for fathers who swallow caterpillar fluids to attract women.
Recently, scientists have reported the first evidence that butterflies are sobbing from the caterpillar’s body — dead and alive. They were able to observe adult monarch butterflies in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, and use small claws on their feet to scratch the caterpillar’s body wounds and wrap the oozing liquid.
Male butterflies look for specific compounds produced by milkweed, a flowering plant of the Apocynaceae family. This repels predators and helps butterflies produce pheromones that attract females. The caterpillar is packed with the juice of the chewed plant, making it a good target for butterflies trying to chemically enhance their attractiveness to women.
“The hornworm larvae look like a futile attempt to prevent persistent scratches in adults and quickly distort their bodies,” said researchers who observed the drinking of baby butterflies.They explained their observations in a study published in the journal on September 8th. Ecology..
Butterflies of the Danainae family are known as Milkweed butterflies. This is because most of the caterpillars in this group eat cod butterflies, which contain toxic alkaloids that are absorbed by the caterpillars and processed into useful chemicals that protect them from predators. Another use for these alkaloids is the mating pheromone, which scientists write is transferred to women in male sperm packets “as a gift of marriage.”
Most monarch butterflies are found in Asia, but there are four species in North America, one of which is the colorful monarch butterfly (1).Danaus Plexips), According to Idaho’s Digital Atlas.. The male butterflies of this family are known for their unique behavior called leaf scratching. Adults supplement the sap of plants absorbed as hungry larvae by rubbing milkweed leaves with small claws, releasing alkaloid-containing sap and drinking through long tengs. Studies show that sometimes hundreds of men get together to scratch and drink milkweed leaves.
However, on December 9, 2019, senior researcher Yi-Kai Tea, a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, and Singapore’s naturalist co-author Jonathan Soong Wei joined Indonesia. I saw a milkweed butterfly in Tancoco. Batuangas Nature Reserve scratched by another source of sap: Living milkweed larvae.
Researchers reported that more than 1,600 feet (500 meters) of “adults were observed that scratched many caterpillars along the coastal vegetation.” After that, they saw the butterflies actively drinking for hours “from the injured and oozing caterpillars”. Butterflies sometimes gathered in mixed species groups. So there was a butterfly’s intention to drink from caterpillars so that even the touch of human observers could not distract them, the study authors wrote. To describe the behavior, scientists coined the term “kleptopharma cophagy,” which means “consume stolen chemicals.”
“Alternative coined words” kairopharmacophagy “(feeding protective chemicals from injured caterpillars detected by” eavesdropping “) or” necropharmacophagy “(feeding protective chemicals from dead caterpillars) may also be appropriate. “The researchers reported.
Scientists counted seven species of monarch butterflies that scraped off live and dead caterpillars over a three-day period (it is unknown whether the dead caterpillars were drunk or dead). One possible explanation for why butterflies find caterpillars so tasty is that milkweed alkaloids accumulate in the caterpillar’s body from the leaves they eat, making the internal “juice” a stronger, alkaloid-rich brew, thereby. To make it more attractive to thirsty men, scientists suggested.
Butterflies can be attracted to milkweed leaves that have already been damaged by the chewing of caterpillars. Those caterpillars are nearby when adults start scratching. Studies show that if a butterfly accidentally rubs a caterpillar, the wound will attract the butterfly and release a powerful chemical scent that encourages further scratching of the caterpillar.
Many questions remain about this anomalous (and horrifying) behavior, such as which particular plant compounds attract butterflies to caterpillars and which butterflies in other parts of the world also practice drinking babies, tea. Said in a statement..
“These brief observations raise questions about the ecology of these famous butterflies and offer many opportunities for future research,” he said.
Originally published in Live Science.
Monarch butterflies tear caterpillars and drink alive
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