Lepidopteran soral crypsis on Caribbean ferns

Michael S. Barker, Shane W. Shaw, R. James Hickey, John E. Rawlins, James W. Fetzner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Insect-fern interactions are not as well characterized as insect-angiosperm interactions. For example, the imitation of unique fern structures by insects has not been observed. On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, we collected ferns that bore small Lepidoptera imitating fern sori. Herbarium specimen searches indicate that these Lepidoptera are restricted to the Caribbean on ferns with highly visible sporangia. A possible selective pressure for the evolution of lepidopteran soral crypsis is wasp parasitism, as evidence of parasitoid wasps was found. However, it is more likely that soral crypsis evolved to avoid visually oriented predators such as birds or lizards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-316
Number of pages3
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Caribbean
  • Crypsis
  • Gelechioidea
  • Lepidoptera
  • Leptosporangiate ferns
  • Plant-insect interactions
  • Wasp parasitoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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