Flavonoid wing pigments increase attractiveness of female common blue (Polyommatus icarus) butterflies to mate-searching males

Naturwissenschaften. 2000 Jul;87(7):304-7. doi: 10.1007/s001140050726.


Common blue butterflies (Polyommatus icarus) sequester flavonoids from their larval host plants and allocate these UV-absorbing pigments to the wings. In field experiments using dummies constructed from female butterflies, mate-searching males inspected flavonoid-rich dummies more intensively than those with little or no flavonoids. Flavonoid content as signalled by UV-wing pattern may indicate ontogenetically determined female quality or enhance detectability to males.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Butterflies / physiology*
  • Female
  • Flavonoids* / radiation effects
  • Male
  • Pigmentation / radiation effects
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Wings, Animal*


  • Flavonoids