Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 20: Mar-Apr 1982

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Heads or tails?

Fake-head butterflies often escape predators that make passes at their cleverly designed tails, which as the figure shows, look awfully like butterfly heads, with eye spot, fake antennas, etc. Further, the converging stripes direct attention to the false head. The result is that this type of butterfly may lose its tail but save its real head. This effective stripe pattern has evolved (?) independently at least six times in the Neotropics.

(Robbins, Robert K.; "The 'False Head' Hypothesis: Predation and Wing Pattern Variation of Lycaenid Butterflies," American Naturalist, 118:770, 1981.)

Comment. One wonders why all butterflies haven't evolved this neat ploy?

Fake-head butterfly

From Science Frontiers #20, MAR-APR 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987