butterfly legs

Hank & Priscilla Brodkin hankb at theriver.com
Thu Oct 12 11:22:48 EDT 2000

"K.J.Caley" wrote:
> OK, this may be a slightly misguided question, as I haven't seen that
> many members of this family, but I have recently been told that some
> snout butterflies (Lybithaeinae), such as the Nettle-tree Butterfly of
> Europe possess females which only possess three legs as opposed to the
> normal 4 in this group.  Is that really true, or is this someone pulling
> my leg(oh dear....pun seen after writing)?
> Kevin

Kevin -
I'm sure you will get many answers to your post - but here are some
All insects have six legs.  The Nymphalidae or brushfoots - in which
some authorities include the snouts and some do not - APPEAR to have
only four legs.  The front pair of legs, the "brushfeet" have ben
modified to sensory organs which are not used for walking - but ar
usually curled up behind the eye.  These are used to "smell" or test
plants and may be used for other purposes involving mating, etc.
If anyone else knows of more recent research into the use of the
"brushfeet" I would be interested in hearing about it.
	             Hank & Priscilla Brodkin
	          Carr Canyon, Cochise County, AZ
                    Lat: 31.450, Long: 110.267
             SouthEast Arizona Butterfly Association

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