Eye spots attract females, as reported in ScienceNOW, 29 June 2005. Many butterflies have large spots on their wings that resemble eyes, complete with a white reflective spot in the middle of the black “pupil” to reinforce the effect of a real eye. These are generally explained as a means of scaring off predators, but biologists at the University of New York, Buffalo, noticed that the spots are just as prominent on the inner dorsal wings of many butterflies and therefore would not be visible to predators. Such inside spots are exposed to other butterflies during courtship displays. Kendra Robertson and colleagues studied the mating habits of a butterfly named Bicylus anyana that has eyespots on the inner side of its wings, and found that females were most attracted to males that had white spots in the “pupils”. Researchers have noted that the scales on white spots reflect ultra violet (UV) light and have wondered if that was the attraction for the females. To test this they coated the spots of fifty male butterflies with a colourless UV absorbing pigment so that the spots still appeared white but did not reflect UV light. The females were less attracted to treated males, compared with untreated males whose wing spots still reflected UV light. The biologists suggest that UV reflectance decreases with wear and tear as the butterflies age, so that males with highly reflective spots look younger and more healthy.
Editorial Comment: The patterns and colours of many creatures are interpreted as having evolved to evade predators in an evolutionary world of struggle and survival. This has led sceptics to ask why God had equipped creatures with such defences if He made all animals to be vegetarian, as described in Genesis 1:29-31. This study helps answer that question. The butterfly wing spots were originally made as courtship displays. Following the Fall and the Flood, as animals devolved to scavengers and carnivores, the spots were useful for predator avoidance as well as attracting mates. Creation Research predicts that if biologists made the effort to do the research they would find many features currently useful in the present day struggle to survive, also have/had other functions useful in the original world God created, where everything was good, and no camouflage was needed for protection. (Ref. camouflage, fluorescence, insects)