Behavioral traits expressed during <i>Heliconius </i>butterflies roost-assembly.


  • C. Salcedo


communal roosting, behavior


Several species within the genus Heliconius display nocturnal communal roosting. The butterflies have permanent roost sites that are used night after night. A few hours before sunset the butterflies start navigating towards the roost sites. When several individuals meet at these places, a series of behavioral interactions occur before they are all perched gregariously. Although some of these interactions have been previously reported, there are no data supporting these interactions as defined and consistently expressed behavioral traits. Using natural and in-cage roosting aggregations of H. sara and H. erato, from Costa Rica, Panama and Peru, and modern behavior analysis tools, the present work studied roost-assembly behavioral traits to establish whether these traits are consistently expressed or not, to provide a detailed description of them, and to detect interactions never reported before.