|Title||Experimental field demonstration that two aposematic butterfly color patterns do no confer protection against birds in northern Michigan|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1987|
|Authors||Waldbauer GP, Sternburg J.G|
|Journal||The American Midlands Naturalist|
Diurnal male Callosamia promethea moths painted with yellow bars to resemble the palatable tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus canadensis), with orange stripes to resemble the sometimes emetic monarch (Danaus plexippus) or with a control weight of black paint to retain their natural mimicry of the toxic pipe vine swallowtail (Battus philenor) were released and recaptured in northern lower Michigan. Some of the recaptured painted moths, as well as some of the corresponding wild butterflies and promethea moths, bore wing injuries indicating that they had escaped from attacking birds. Statistically similar recapture rates of the three color types of painted moths indicate that neither the B. philenor nor D. plexippus color patterns confer mimetic advantage in this area. The reason why the B. philenor pattern has no mimetic advantage in this area is probably because the toxic model, B. philenor, does not occur. We propose that the D. plexippus pattern exhibits no mimetic advantage because in northern Michigan D. plexippus has only four Asclepias food plants, all of which are know to be low in cardenolides and which may not supply D. plexippus with an emetic dose of cardenolides.