Since palatable butterflies are more dependent on evasive flight to escape from predators, they should be more restricted in their flight-related morphology than unpalatable ones. We compared: the ratios between the (1) length of head plus thorax and the length of abdomen (A/B), (2) length of the tip of the head to wing base and the length of the wing base to end of the abdomen (C/D), (3) the variances of A/B and C/D, (4) the proportion between the thoracic and the body weight, and (5) the flight speed between palatable and unpalatable butterflies. A/B and thoracic/body weight were higher for palatable species, indicating higher body symmetry and muscular mass. However, flight speed did not differ. Unexpectedly, the variance of A/B was higher for palatable species while that of C/D did not differ. Therefore, corporal allometric measurements of Neotropical butterflies are good predictors of palatability, though not of flight speed.
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Vol. 121 • No. 2