Color Advertising

Gulf Fritillary

Gulf Fritillary

Many flowers undergo a change in color after they are pollinated. This color change is important in the relationship between plants and their pollinators. This has been documented for the relationship between Lantana camara and two of its butterfly pollinators, the Gulf Fritillary and the Buckeye.

The butterflies search for nectar rewards based on color. The flowers before they are pollinated offer nectar rewards and are attractive to the butterflies. After pollination the flowers change color, no longer offer nectar rewards and are no longer visited. The color signaling is beneficial to both plant and pollinator. The pollinator benefits by maximizing time visiting flowers that contain nectar rewards and minimizing time wasted on unproductive visits. The plant benefits by attracting the pollinators to flowers in need of pollination and not to the flowers that don’t need pollination. This increases the efficiency of pollination.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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