Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rewarding work for butterflies

Date:
August 1, 2012
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Butterflies learn faster when a flower is rewarding than when it is not, and females have the edge over males when it comes to speed of learning with rewards. This research is thought to be the first to investigate and compare the speed at which insects learn from both rewarding and non-rewarding experiences.

Butterflies learn faster when a flower is rewarding than when it is not, and females have the edge over males when it comes to speed of learning with rewards.
Credit: Carmen Steiner / Fotolia

Butterflies learn faster when a flower is rewarding than when it is not, and females have the edge over males when it comes to speed of learning with rewards. These are the findings of a new study, by Dr. Ikuo Kandori and Takafumi Yamaki from Kinki University in Japan. Their work, published online in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften -- The Science of Nature, is the first to investigate and compare the speed at which insects learn from both rewarding and non-rewarding experiences.

Learning is a fundamental mechanism for adjusting behavior to environmental change. In insects, there are three main types of learning: reward learning where insects develop a positive association between visual and/or olfactory cues and resources such as nectar; aversive learning where insects associate visual and/or olfactory cues with negative stimuli such as salt, shock and toxins; and non-reward learning where they associate the cues with the absence of rewards. To date, very few studies have explored non-reward learning in pollinator insects, including the butterfly Byasa alcinous.

In a series of four experiments, Kandori and Yamaki examined both the reward (nectar present) and non-reward (no nectar) learning abilities of the butterfly while foraging among artificial flowers of different colors. They also compared the reward and non-reward learning speeds.

They found that the butterfly learned to associate flower color, not only with the presence of nectar, but also with the absence of nectar. This demonstrates that the butterfly used both reward and non-reward learning while foraging on the flowers. In addition, the butterfly learned quicker via reward learning than it did via non-reward learning; and females learned faster than males.

These authors conclude: "Byasa alcinous can find rewarding flower species more efficiently via both reward and non-reward learning. Insects may initially visit a certain flower by innate preference. If this flower is rewarding, they quickly increase their focus on that flower species through reward learning. If the flower species is unrewarding and common, frequent visits to that flower species enhances non-reward learning to avoid that flower species. The butterfly can then identify new rewarding flower species with a reduced loss of energy and time, if it avoids foraging on such abundant, innately attractive but unrewarding flower species."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ikuo Kandori, Takafumi Yamaki. Reward and non-reward learning of flower colours in the butterfly Byasa alcinous (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Naturwissenschaften, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s00114-012-0952-y

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Rewarding work for butterflies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093718.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2012, August 1). Rewarding work for butterflies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093718.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Rewarding work for butterflies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093718.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) The Buenos Aires Zoo debuted a trio of rare white Bengal tiger cubs on Wednesday. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins