The Japanese Emperor

Japanese Emperor

Japanese Emperor Butterfly
Left: Male; Right: Female
Upper: Natural Light; Lower: UV Reflectance
Image: From Eguchi & Meyer-Rochow*

The Japanese Emperor, Sasakia charonda, is the National Butterfly of Japan. (Why does the US not have a national butterfly? BTW, Indiana is one of the states that lacks a state butterfly.) The Japanese Emperor flies in the upper canopy of forests in Japan. As can be seen in the photos, males and females have dimorphic coloration. Eguchi & Meyer-Rochow* were interested in the role of UV reflectance in butterfly communication. They photographed butterflies in natural light and under UV light with a filter that only passed UV light. Butterfly wings are also billboards advertising who they are. Areas of the wing that appear light in images made by UV light only indicate patterns that may be visible to butterflies but obscure to the human eye. The images show that in addition to the dimorphic coloration, males have an area of the wing with intense UV reflectance that the females lack. Signals in the UV can be important for mate recognition.

*Eisuke Eguchi and V. Benno Meyer-Rochow. Ultraviolet photography of forty-three species of Lepidoptera representing ten families. ANNOTATIONES ZOOLOGICAE JAPONENSES Volume 56. No. l March 1983

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an 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.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

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