Colour vision in diurnal and nocturnal hawkmoths

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Abstract

Diurnal and nocturnal hawkmoths (Sphingidae, Lepidoptera) have three spectral types of receptor sensitive to ultraviolet, blue and green light. As avid flower visitors and pollinators, they use olfactory and visual cues to find and recognise flowers. Moths of the diurnal species Macroglossum stellatarum and the nocturnal species Deilephila elpenor, Hyles lineata and Hyles gallii use and learn the colour of flowers. Nocturnal species can discriminate flowers at starlight intensities when humans and honeybees are colour-blind. M. stellatarum can use achromatic, intensity-related cues if colour cues are absent, and this is probably also true for D. elpenor. Both species can recognise colours even under a changed illumination colour.

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  • Zoology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-579
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Volume43
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes