A natural population of Ascia monuste studied in Everglades National Park in January 1970 was subjected to intense attack by birds. Of 697 individuals examined, 22.8% had been caught at least once by a bird. Predation intensity was greater in an open habitat (26.8%) than in a wooded one (14.4%). In laboratory experiments female A. monuste are significantly less palatable to blue jays than males and consequently should be better protected against birds. Contrary to expectation, there was no difference in the incidence of beak marks on males and females in the sample of wild butterflies. Wild females may have received fewer attacks than expected either (a) because birds had learned to distinguish the less palatable females from the more palatable males, or (b) because the thermoregulatory behavior of males made them more vulnerable.
Department, Program, or Center
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)
Pough, F. Harvey and Brower, Lincoln, "Predation by birds on great southern white butterflies as a function of palatability, sex, and habitat" (1977). The University of Notre Dame Press: American Midland Naturalist, 98 (N1), 50-58. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus