Many ecological studies have documented mate location behaviour in relation to morphology for temperate butterflies. However, to what extent morphology and mate location behaviour are similarly associated in tropical, subtropical and temperate region butterflies is unknown; no study has yet been undertaken of mate location behaviour in relation to morphology in Indian butterflies. The male mate locating behaviour of 70 butterfly species has been recorded; 23 exhibited both perching and patrolling behaviour, 31 are strict perchers, 16 solely patrol, 22 display male territorial defence and nine establish aggregations (leks). We tested two issues relating morphology to mate location behaviour: 1. Perching and patrolling males differ in morphology. 2. Perching and patrolling males differ in wing colour. It was found that, within species, individual perching males have shorter bodies, greater wing spans and greater weight than patrolling males, and that within and between species perching males are duller/paler in colour than patrolling males. The reasons for these distinctions are discussed and are considered to relate to the different activities of perchers and patrollers, the former significantly associated with territorial defence.
Buy this Article