John Grehan jrg13 at
Thu Sep 10 11:34:54 EDT 1998

>>I would think that the best empirical evidence of purpose in butterfly wings
>>would be the huge cost associated with metamorphosis.
>Many Orthopteroids have wings, and they have pretty simple metamorphosis.
>The *ancestors* of butterflies had wings, so butterflies do. You can't
>answer anything that way.
>        You want to look for *proximate* explanations, then examine species
>which have lost their wings, or simply don't fly, and ask "What is
>different about the ecology of these insects?". In general, you'll find
>they are insects which have either lost the need to disperse altogether

I would question the use of "need" and suggest the alternative possiblity
that they lost the ability to disperse as wings were lost. Its possible that
this shift was a selective process out of the original variation, or was
a concerted genetic change that was not detrimental to survival under
those circumstances.

Sincerely, John Grehan

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