Aggressive Mimicry in Photuris Fireflies: Signal Repertoires by Femmes Fatales

Science  07 Feb 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4175, pp. 452-453
DOI: 10.1126/science.187.4175.452


Females of Photuris versicolor prey on males of other species by mimicking the flash responses of the prey's own females. They adjust their responses according to the male pattern, and attract males of four species with distinctively different flashed responses. The capabilities of the firefly brain are more complex than previously suspected. The mimicry is quite effective, and females seldom answered more than ten males without catching one.