Fruit Baits ( and Mimicry)

Pierre le Roux arbor at
Sun Apr 12 03:45:50 EDT 1998

Jm Hanlon wrote:
 > however, I did make some interesting observations. For one, I observed that
> (in addition to other various butterflies) both female and male Charaxinae
> such as Agrias and Prepona will feed on sugarcane juice fermented with banana;
> however, when using rotting fish and carrion, (in addition to other various
> butterflies) only male Agrias and male Preponas came to the traps to feed. It
> appears that the females are strictly fruit feeders. It would be interesting
> to know what the biological reasons are for the selective food preferences for
> the females and males. 
In Africa, Charaxes butterflies are also strongly attracted to 
fruitbaits and rotting meat or crustaceans. The most populars one's are banana,
 guava(Psidium guava) and fermented prawns (if you can stand the stench!).
To the fruitbaits, a good dollop of rum is normally added, with good effect. 
Although opinions vary wildly on the matter, it is my personal 
observation that fresh baits ( made the day before or so) work as 
well as the well-matured one's others believe in, and in fact would 
"side-by-side" with the others, attract more females, at least of the 
Charaxinae in our area. Carnivore droppings and the excreta of 
monkeys or baboons also attract males in particular of the species, 
and females are often found on rotting/fermenting fruit of indigenous 

> I have also noted what appears to be a mimicry relationship between various
> Agrias species and Callicore species. Different colored Agrias, located in
> different regions of the Amazon, are always accompanied by similar looking
> Callicore or Asterope. Is this a coincidence or perhaps do the Callicores feed
> on the same food plant? Much has been written about the claim for mimicry
> between these two genuses; however, Phil DeVries believes that all of the
> claims are strictly based on visual appearances of wing color, and that no
> studies have been conducted with the use of birds, etc.
> I actually do not know if either butterfly is distasteful to birds but I think
> I may have read that the Callicores are distasteful and are considered the
> models. It would be interesting to hear any additional thoughts on this
> subject.
On the subject of mimicry, Alfe Curle  and Herman Staude put forward 
the idea that mimicry is "accidental", in as far as the mimic does 
not choose to mimic the model, but that predators actually avoid 
eating forms that mimic a distasteful model, thereby shifting the 
population towards a better chance of survival for the gene(s) 
responsible for the mimicry. This would mean that the predators 
actually determine mimicry! It sounds iminently plausable to me. A 
lively discussion on this subject ensued at the previous A.G.M. of 
the African Lepidopterist Society.
Pierre le Roux Tel&Fax:+(27)-15-583-0084
P.O. Box 8     ( Cellphone+27-82-9234-975)
0929 Levubu
South Africa

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