Butterflies are among the most colourful animals. They use colours in many aspects of their lives: from keeping warm in cold climates to evading predators and impressing potential mates. In this talk, Dr Kunte will weave stories of butterflies that camouflage as dried leaves, fool their predators with fake identities, and attract mates with distinctive colour displays. This will bring to the audience a unique appreciation of the evolutionary patterns and genetic mechanisms by which butterflies get their brilliant colours.
About the Speaker:
Dr Kunte received his PhD in 2008 from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied the evolution of wing colour patterns and mimicry in swallowtail butterflies. He was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University from 2009 to 2011 to study the developmental genetics of wing colouration in swallowtails. In 2012 he joined the faculty of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, where he continues his long-term studies on the evolution and genetics of butterfly wing patterns. He spearheads the Biodiversity Atlas —India project (www.bioatlasindia.org), and acts as the chief editor of the Butterflies of India website (www.ifoundbutterflies.org). He is also a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission's Butterfly Specialist Group. He has authored four books on Indian butterflies, and published over 40 papers on the biology and systematics of butterflies and other insects.