Intimidating strike dd 3 5
Two competing hypotheses seek to explain the cause of intimidation, one suggesting ‘eye-mimicry’ and the other their ‘conspicuousness’ as the reason.
Experimental studies have directly demonstrated the wide range of selective forces that are likely to have shaped the myriad eyespots currently found in nature. However, the most widespread selective agent shaping the evolution of eyespot is, arguably, predation pressure.
However, consequent studies investigating the same in a natural environment provided no significant support for the importance of symmetry .
Lepidopteran eyespots commonly bear a small structure called a ‘sparkle’ on the upper part of the eyespots’ pupil.
Thus the presence of the ‘sparkle’ is suggested to reinforce the eye-mimicry hypothesis.
In summary, the question of which of the two hypotheses better explains the evolutionary significance of the eyespots in an anti-predatory role is yet to be conclusively answered.Eyespots - conspicuous, circular or quasi-circular colour markings – are remarkably common morphological features in the animal kingdom.