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Colour vision in diurnal and nocturnal hawkmoths

  • Almut Kelber
  • Anna Balkenius
  • Eric Warrant
Publishing year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 571-579
Publication/Series: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Volume: 43
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract english

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.


  • Zoology


  • Lund Vision Group
  • ISSN: 1557-7023
E-mail: anna [dot] balkenius [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

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Lund Vision Group