New paper in Entomologica Austriaca


Fruit-feeding behavior of the butterfly Consul fabius (Charaxinae, Nymphalidae, Lepidoptera).

Pinterich E & Krenn HW.
Entomologica Austriaca 27: 91–105.


Fruit-feeding is a common behavior in many tropical butterflies. Consul fabius (Charaxinae) was studied to analyse the two applied feeding techniques in detail, i.e., fruit-piercing and fruit-sweeping. Fruit-piercing was performed with a straight proboscis, accompanied by up and down pushing movements of the whole body; up to 90% of the proboscis length was inserted into a soft fruit. During fruit-sweeping, the dorsal side of the proboscis drinking region was turned towards the fruit to ingest liquid from the surface. Characteristic sweeping movements of the proboscis occurred that scanned the fruit surface while the body stayed motionless. The autofluorescence of the proboscis cuticle indicated increased sclerotization towards the tip. Strong sclerotization in the cuticle occurred in the galea linking structures and the sensilla styloconcia near the tip. These sensilla extend from soft cuticle of the galea, indicating a flexible socket of each sensillum. This arrangement might help to mash fruit tissue during piercing. In some individuals, the two galeae were shifted antiparallel so that an apical opening into the food canal was formed. The fruit-piercing behavior and the typical proboscis morphology of Charaxinae are autapomorphic features of this clade, whereas sweeping fruit-feeding behavior evolved several times independently in various lineages of the nymphalid butterflies.