Rock (and roll!) Grayling

The great Dutch biologist Niko Tinbergen, first described the highly stereotypic courtship behaviour of the Grayling, Hipparchia semele (Linnaeus 1758), a butterfly which was common on a dune area in the center of the Netherlands, Hulshorst sands – on the shores of the Zuider Zee – where he was carrying out research on digger wasps. The complex…

Lang’s Short-tailed Blue: courtship behaviour

There is a huge diversity of different courtship behaviour in butterflies, but one feature appears to be universal: female butterflies ‘almost never fly towards males to mate’ (Scott, 1973). In other words, male butterflies nearly always initiate courtship. For example, in the common blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus) this involves a display of fluttering wings –…

Tigers mating

The Plain Tiger, Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758), is a butterfly with an enormous distribution – from West Africa to New Zealand (1, 2). There are a large number of different forms or subspecies comprising what is called a ‘species complex’. This is a name given to a group of insects by taxonomists when they don’t really know,…