Moving like a model

mimicry of hymenopteran flight trajectories by clearwing moths of Southeast Asian rainforests

Marta A. Skowron Volponi*, Donald James McLean, Paolo Volponi, Robert Dudley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Clearwing moths are known for their physical resemblance to hymenopterans, but the extent of their behavioural mimicry is unknown. We describe zigzag flights of sesiid bee mimics that are nearly indistinguishable from those of sympatric bees, whereas sesiid wasp mimics display faster, straighter flights more akin to those of wasps. In particular, the flight of the sesiids Heterosphecia pahangensis, Aschistophleps argentifasciata and Pyrophleps cruentata resembles both Tetragonilla collina and T. atripes stingless bees and, to a lesser extent, dwarf honeybees Apis andreniformis, whereas the sesiid Pyrophleps sp. resembles Tachysphex sp. wasps. These findings represent the first experimental evidence for behavioural mimicry in clearwing moths.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20180152
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBiology Letters
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2018

Keywords

  • Batesian mimicry
  • locomotor mimicry
  • Sesiidae

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