We initially investigated whether females of the cabbage butterfly, Pieris rapae crucivora, exhibit a seasonal change in ultraviolet wing color, which is a key stimulus for mate recognition by conspecific males, and whether and how a seasonal change affects the mating behavior of the males. We found that female UV wing color changes seasonally, the color being more pronounced in summer than in spring or autumn. We also demonstrated that male mate preference changes seasonally, concomitantly with the change in female UV color. Specifically, males appearing in summer exhibit a mating preference for summer-form females over spring- or autumn-form females, while those appearing in spring or autumn exhibit no seasonal preference, thereby facilitating more effective mate location. Our results suggest that this field of study will require more strictly controlled experimental investigation in which the seasonal change in UV color is considered when UV-influenced mating behaviors such as mate choice are investigated.
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