How to build a butterfly!

The upper wing surfaces of butterflies are often brightly coloured and visually highly apparent (above), whilst the undersides are usually fairly dull and inconspicuous (below). Although this characterisation is a gross generalisation – there are plenty of exceptions – these differences between the two wing surfaces, do reflect their contrasting functions: upper surfaces are used…

Tiger beetles: colour for a purpose

Tiger beetles (Cicindelinae) are strikingly beautiful predatory insects which come in a bewildering variety of stunning colours: iridescent, metallic greens, reds, blues and so on. Researchers have speculated about the function of these gorgeous colours and have come up with theories to do with crypsis (blending in), disruption by iridescence (dazzle!), mimicry (trying to look like something…

Ant-attended aphids

Many homopteran species, including aphids, have evolved mutualistic relationships with ants. Such symbiotic relationships are beneficial to both species and will endure as long as the costs do not outweigh the benefits. The basic parameters of this mutualism are that the aphids provide the ants with a source of food – their honeydew secretions –…