Butterfly mating behavior, evolution topic of Sunday presentation at Fla. Museum

December 3rd, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw may have her finger on the pulse of New York’s dating life, but when it comes to relationships of a more animal variety she has nothing on Andrei Sourakov.

Sourakov, collections coordinator for the Florida Museum of Natural History’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, will present “Fight and Flight,” an interactive film, lecture and discussion on the mating behavior and evolution of butterflies and moths at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

“Most people think butterflies are gentle creatures above earthly needs,” Sourakov said. “But they have urges just like humans and other animals.”

His presentation on the mating practices of butterflies will explain their human-like and sometimes aggressive patterns. Most butterflies are extremely selective about mating and base their decision on looks, strength and the scent of a potential partner. Some males will brawl with other suitors vying for the same female while others will go to the extreme of secreting a substance on a female partner that prevents her from mating with other butterflies.

“People joke about chastity belts, but butterflies really do use them,” Sourakov laughed.

Sourakov holds a doctorate in entomology from the University of Florida and has worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

“Fight and Flight” is part of the Florida Museum’s Science Sundays series. The presentation is free and open to the public. Call (352) 273-2064 for more information.

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Source: Jackie Miller, 352-273-2016
Writer: Kelly Donovan
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu