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He and she cooperate on anti-aphrodisiacs

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1:00pm, February 3, 2003

A common male butterfly deploys chemical weapons to keep rivals away from females—a great example of cooperation between the sexes that goes sour, says a team of scientists in Sweden.

Among green-veined white butterflies, Pieris napi, a male laces his sperm packages with methyl salicylate, report Johan Andersson of Stockholm University and his colleagues. This is the first time researchers have identified a chemical that serves as a butterfly anti-aphrodisiac, Andersson notes.

Females reeking of the stuff repulse males within seconds, the researchers report in the July 7 Proceedings of the Royal Society Of London B.

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