by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Aug 01, 2012
For monarch butterflies, redder wings are correlated with better flight performance, according to research published July 25 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
Previous work has shown that monarch coloring is intended to warn their predators about their bitter taste and toxicity, and that migratory butterflies are darker colored than non-migratory ones, suggesting an association between darker color and increased fitness.
The current work, led by Andrew Davis of the University of Georgia, provides further evidence for this association.
The researchers tested 121 captive monarchs in an apparatus called a tethered flight mill, where they can quantify butterfly flight speed, duration, and distance, and found that those with darker orange wings overall flew longer distances than those with lighter wings.
"Butterfly researchers don't often look closely at color variation between individuals of the same species. The results of this project will pave the way for a new line of inquiry into the significance of butterfly wing color."
Citation: Davis AK, Chi J, Bradley C, Altizer S (2012) The Redder the Better: Wing Color Predicts Flight Performance in Monarch Butterflies. PLoS ONE 7(7): e41323. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041323
Public Library of Science
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US challenges EU with rival airline tax talks
Washington (AFP) July 30, 2012
The United States will this week host a meeting of some 16 nations opposed to a controversial EU carbon tax on airlines, aiming to draw up an alternative plan, a US official said Monday. "All of the countries who are part of this meeting... are opposed to the EU's application of its emissions trading scheme (ETS) to foreign carriers," a senior administration official said. The carbon tax ... read more
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