Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sap-feeding butterflies join ranks of natural phenomenon, the Golden Ratio

09.03.2015

Coiling action of the butterfly proboscis resembled spiral similar to Golden Ratio

Alongside Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, disc-shaped galaxies, or the cochlea of the human ear, scientists can now count sap-feeding butterfly proboscises as aligned with the Golden Ratio.


A high-speed camera was used to record proboscis-coiling configurations and the videos were then analyzed to isolate the frame that showed closeness to the Golden Ratio spiral.

Credit: M. Lehnert

The mysterious Golden Ratio (also known as Phi (φ), the Golden Mean, or the Divine Number) is an incommensurable number - a relationship between two irrational numbers - which occurs organically throughout the universe. Beginning as 1.61803, the Golden Ratio continues forever without repeating, similar to Pi (π). Artists and architects have employed the number to guide design. In the natural world, the Golden Ratio often appears in the shape of a spiral.

Researchers at Kent State University observed that the coiling action of the butterfly proboscis, a tube-like "mouth" that many butterflies and moths use to feed on fluids, resembled a spiral similar to that of the Golden Ratio, and decided to investigate. Their study, "The Golden Ratio reveals geometric differences in proboscis coiling among butterflies of different feeding habits", was released by American Entomologist, a publication of the Entomological Society of America.

The experiment consisted of collecting six butterfly species with different feeding habits (nectar feeders, sap feeders, and puddle feeders, i.e., species where males puddle to acquire sodium) over a 3-month period near Alliance, OH. A high-speed camera was used to record proboscis-coiling configurations and the videos were then analyzed to isolate the frame that showed closeness to the Golden Ratio spiral.

Though proboscis geometry did not show a trend that matched the evolutionary relationships among the studied species, it was discovered that the Golden Ratio did relate to butterfly feeding habits, and sap-feeding butterflies have proboscis conformations that closely resemble the Golden Ratio. The researchers suggest that the differences in proboscis coiling conformations might relate to the substrates from which butterflies feed. "This trend fits a pattern where nectar feeders primarily feed on fluids confined in floral tubes, sap feeders feed on exposed fluids of porous surfaces, and puddle feeders feed from both."

The researchers suggest that these findings can be used to predict the feeding habits of unstudied lepidopteran species, as well as provide the basis for further research on the connection between the structural configuration of proboscis coiling patterns and butterfly feeding habits. "Although coincidental, it is fascinating that a mathematical occurrence can be used to reveal a widespread pattern at radically different scales, from galaxies to butterfly proboscises," concludes lead author Matthew S. Lehnert.

###

Matthew S. Lehnert is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State University at Stark where he teaches Entomology, Genetics, and Evolution courses. He studies the evolutionary ecology and fluid uptake mechanisms of Lepidoptera.

Eric Brown was an undergraduate student at Kent State University at Stark where he recently graduated with a B.A. in Biology.

Margie P. Lehnert is a Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State University at Stark where she teaches numerous biology courses for majors and non-majors.

Patrick D. Gerard is Professor of Applied Statistics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University.

Huan Yan is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University.

Chanjoong Kim is an Assistant Professor at the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University.

About American Entomologist

American Entomologist is a quarterly magazine that publishes articles and information of general entomological interest. The magazine publishes columns, features, research, book reviews, letters to the editor, and obituaries.

The Golden Ratio reveals geometric differences in proboscis coiling among butterflies of different feeding habits

**Link will be live upon embargo date. A full PDF of the article is available upon request.**

Sharing on social media? Find Oxford Journals @OxfordJournals or Entomological Society @EntsocAmerica.

Estelle Hallick | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Entomologist Galaxies Liquid butterfly coiling fluids natural phenomenon phenomenon species

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>