+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ PDF Full Text
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Eye-spots in Lepidoptera attract attention in humans

Eye-spots in Lepidoptera attract attention in humans

Royal Society Open Science 2(6): 150155

Many prey species exhibit defensive traits to decrease their chances of predation. Conspicuous eye-spots, concentric rings of contrasting colours, are one type of defensive trait that some species exhibit to deter predators. We examined the function of eye-spots in Lepidoptera to determine whether they are effective at deterring predators because they resemble eyes ('eye mimicry hypothesis') or are highly salient ('conspicuous signal hypothesis'). We recorded the gaze behaviour of men and women as they viewed natural images of butterflies and moths as well as images in which the eye-spots of these insects were modified. The eye-spots were modified by removing them, scrambling their colours, or replacing them with elliptical or triangular shapes that had either dark or light centres. Participants were generally more likely to look at, spend more time looking at and be faster to first fixate the eye-spots of butterflies and moths that were natural compared with ones that were modified, including the elliptical eye-spots with dark centres that most resembled eyes as well as the scrambled eye-spots that had the same contrast as the natural eye-spots. Participants were most likely to look at eye-spots that were numerous, had a large surface area and were located close to the insects' heads. Participants' pupils were larger when viewing eye-spots compared with the rest of the insects' body, suggesting a greater arousal when viewing eye-spots. Our results provide some support for the conspicuous signal hypothesis (and minimal support for the eye mimicry hypothesis) and suggest that eye-spots may be effective at deterring predators because they are highly conspicuous signals that draw attention.

(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 057851547

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26543589

DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150155

Related references

Attention deficit continues to attract research attention. Molecular Medicine Today 2(12): 493, 1996

Physical Forces between Humans and How Humans Attract and Repel Each Other Based on Their Social Interactions in an Online World. Plos One 10(7): E0133185, 2016

Aardvarks attract attention. Zoonooz, 458: 12-14, 1972

Ganymede, Miranda & Io attract attention. Geotimes 32(6): 19-20, 1987

Yaks attract ranchers attention. Small farm today 14(4): 22, 1997

Employer-sponsored PPOs attract attention. Business Insurance 17(23): 1, 34-1, 34, 1983

Pulmonary diseases attract attention in China. Chinese Medical Journal 109(7): 514, 1996

Open house. Babies attract attention--especially your first. Profiles in Healthcare Marketing 1989(34): 67-69, 1989

Unexpected changes in direction of motion attract attention. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics 72(8): 2087-2095, 2011

Artefactual illness to attract medical attention. British Journal of Psychiatry 136(JUNE): 542-547, 1980

Emerging infectious diseases attract expert attention. Lancet 351(9106): 887, 1998

MDs who dissolve professional agreements may attract IRS attention with inconsistencies. Legal Aspects of Medical Practice 7(2): 10, 1979

Color and luminance contrasts attract independent attention. Current Biology 12(13): 1134-1137, July 9, 2002

Neuronal responses in area 7a to stimuli that attract attention. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 22(1-3): 1198, 1996