Hormones Control Eyespot Size in the Butterfly Bicyclus anynana

Bicyclus anynana male and female

The butterfly Bicyclus anynana has beautiful eyespots on its wings, which function in sexual signaling and predator deflection. For years researchers believed that the differences between male and female wing patterns were regulated cell-autonomously by a gene called doublesex. Now, new research shows that male and female Bicyclus butterflies have different levels of the hormone ecdysone, which regulates their different-sized eyespots.

How Flashy Wings, UV Light, and Seasons All Play a Role in One Butterfly Species’ Mating Rituals

Bicyclus anynana butterflies mating

By Edward Ricciuti   Males of an African butterfly, with the improbable nickname of “squinting bush brown,” are the Lepidopteran version of chick magnets—if their generation of caterpillars chills out while it grows up. Caterpillars of this butterfly (Bicyclus anynana) that develop during the cool dry season flip traditional sex roles as adults when ready to mate […]