|Environmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)|
|Activities, activities and more activities|
1) Since predators tend to avoid ithomiine butterflies, an edible butterfly that looks like an ithomiine would have a good chance of being avoided too.
2) If there are more edible look-alikes than true ithomiine butterflies living in a forest, it's more likely that the ithomiines would be hunted. That's because a predator would be more likely to have caught tasty butterflies than true ithomiines in the past, and would associate the coloration pattern with good taste instead of bad.
3) If a predator tries to eat a bad-tasting ithomiine butterfly look-alike, it will learn that the butterfly's pattern means bad taste. And it will learn to avoid ithomiines at the same time.
The experiments will depend on the hypotheses the kids come up with. For example, possible experiments to test if scent or displays attract the females might include collecting males and putting them in a sack or other container so that the females can't see the males but can smell them, and collecting males and putting them in clear, airtight cages so that females can see the displays but can't smell the males.
As mentioned in the scenario, scientists are not sure exactly how the females are attracted to the males. Many scientists believe the males use the oily perfumes to make special chemicals called pheromones and that the pheromones attract the females. The displays of the territorial males may also help the females find the males once the females get fairly dose.
Durian tree flying fox; Angraecum orchid - hawk moth; Brownea tree hermit hummingbird
Leaf-cutter ants grow fungus in their underground nests. They chew up bits of leaves, stems and flowers, which they cut from certain types of plants. These chewed-up plant parts serve as a kind of compost for the fungus to grow in. Then they eat some of the fungus. The fungus wouldn't be able to use the nutrients in the leaves if the ants didn't chew them first.