Letter: Viceroy butterflies — not actually monarch mimics

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Your readers might like to know that the viceroy is not a batesian (palatable) mimic of the monarch [See “A Monarch by Any Other Name,” and “A Royal (Butterfly) Mistake,” both Oct. 10, Xpress].

David B. Ritland and Lincoln P. Brower published their research in Nature 350, 497-498 (11 April 1991), which showed that viceroys tasted as badly to birds as monarchs did [see avl.mx/5fa].

So viceroys aren’t a monarch imitator. Both butterflies co-evolved this feature of being unpalatable to birds.

— Elizabeth Costlow Bartlett
Arden

SHARE
About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.