Efficiency of Fruit Juice Feeding in Morpho peleides (Nymphalidae, Lepidoptera)


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Abstract

We have described the feeding behavior of the frugivorous butterfly Morpho peleides (Butler 1872) under various conditions and tested its ability to take up fluid from selected natural and artificial food sources in comparison with the nectarvorous Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus 1758). Both nymphalids showed similar probing behavior except for one particular proboscis movement and the fact that M. peleides was unable to feed from Lantana flowers. In 2-min feeding trials, M. peleides imbibed a greater amount of fluid from the food sources, with the most conspicuous difference on rotting banana. Without time restriction, M. peleides gained a significantly greater percentage of body weight from soaked plotting paper, whereas no significant difference occurred from tubular artificial flowers. The ability of M. peleides to feed more efficiently from wet surfaces than V. cardui is discussed in context with proboscis morphology.

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