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Study: Birds learn to avoid flashy, hard-to-catch butterflies and their lookalikes

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Florida [US], March 12 (ANI): The showy colors of some butterflies could advertise their speed and nimbleness, much like a coat of bright yellow paint on a sports car. A new study by Florida Museum of Natural History shows birds can learn to recognize these visual cues, avoiding not only butterflies they have failed to nab in the past but similar-looking species as well.
The research provides some of the strongest evidence to date for the idea of evasive mimicry, a strategy in which animals protect themselves from predators by matching the colors or patterns of agile relatives. First proposed more than 60 years ago, the hypothesis has been a challenge to test.
But in an experimental setting, researchers found that wild birds learned and remembered the wing patterns of artificial butterflies that evaded their attacks, as well as those that had a foul flavor, equally spurning both in follow-up tests and often ignoring lookalikes with similar color patterns. Unexpectedly, the birds learned to avoid evasive butterflies faster than distasteful ones.
The results suggest that being hard to catch may deter predators at least as effectively as chemical defenses.
Most research on warning coloration has focused on species with chemical defenses and those that mimic them. Monarch butterflies, for example, sport bright wing patterns of black lines on a field of orange, indicating they contain bad-tasting toxins. A predator that eats one will likely avoid both monarchs and the similar-looking viceroy butterfly in the future.
But a growing number of studies suggest a flashy exterior can mean something entirely different: that an animal is quick. Predators learn to associate these kinds of patterns with a futile chase that leaves them hungry, and species that evolve imitations of these “racing stripes” can capitalize on a defensive strategy while reinforcing the visual message.
During his Ph.D. studies, Willmott worked on the classification of a group of fast-flying tropical butterflies known as Adelpha. At first, he found them nearly impossible to identify. It seemed the genus either contained only a few species with slight variations in wing pattern or dozens of species that looked virtually the same.
The latter turned out to be the case, with more than 90 species making up the group. Like some researchers before him, Willmott began to wonder whether evasive mimicry could explain why so many species of Adelpha looked alike.
While other researchers suggested some Adelpha must have hidden chemical defenses, the explanation didn’t quite satisfy Willmott. Toxic butterflies are usually slow fliers with long wings and a propensity for playing dead when caught.
Adelpha butterflies, however, don’t display these traits, having instead a short, stout thorax and smaller, triangular wings — characteristics that enable fast, erratic flight and sharp turns.
But he wasn’t sure how to test this hypothesis until a conversation with fellow researchers at a 2018 conference in India: Johanna Mappes was an expert at developing predator-prey experiments with wild birds; Pavel Matos-Maravi was interested in the evasive behavior of skipper butterflies; and Marianne Elias and her Ph.D. student Erika Paez were eager to study what drove the evolution of wing color patterns in the genus Adelpha, including the possible effects of predators.
Simulating how evasive mimicry might play out in the wild appealed to the group. The ability of prey to escape predators’ attacks has been “virtually unstudied,” said Elias, a research group leader at the Institute of Systematics, Evolution, Biodiversity at the National Museum of Natural History in France.
Previous work had shown birds can identify the visual cues of evasive prey. Together, the team designed an experiment to test whether potential examples of evasive mimicry in Adelpha could be the result of natural selection.
At a special facility in Finland, the researchers collaborated with Janne Valkonen of the University of Jyvaskyla to capture wild blue tits, birds that would never have encountered tropical Adelpha butterflies, and train them to catch a paper butterfly with an almond treat attached to its underside.
Then, the birds were presented with a plain brown paper butterfly as a control and a paper butterfly with one of three common Adelpha wing patterns: a vertical white band on black forewings, a vertical orange band on black forewings or a combination of orange-striped forewings with white-striped hindwings.
The paper Adelpha butterfly either concealed an almond soaked in a bitter substance — a proxy for chemical defense — or evaded the bird’s attack by gliding away on a rail. The birds learned to connect a particular wing pattern with the negative experience of distastefulness or escape, eventually avoiding this butterfly and striking the control instead.
In a final test, they were given four butterflies at the same time: the plain brown butterfly and all three Adelpha butterflies, including one with the pattern they had seen before.
They strongly avoided the butterfly they had learned to associate with the bitter almond or fast flight and often avoided butterflies that shared a similar color or pattern.
Birds were 1.6 times more likely to attack the distasteful butterfly than evasive ones, perhaps because they had varying levels of tolerance for the bad-tasting almond, said Paez, who co-led the study with Valkonen. After all, even a bitter morsel of food is better than nothing.
“Bad-tasting prey could provide a nutritive meal whereas missing prey completely cannot,” she said.
While birds tend to avoid colorful prey by default, the study provides evidence of learned behavior, Willmott said. (ANI)

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AYUSHMANN SHARES EXPERIENCE OF SINGING TRACK FOR WIFE TAHIRA’S FILM

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MUMBAI: Actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who is also a singer, has once again swooned viewers with his voice in his wife and filmmaker Tahira Kashyap’s latest film ‘Quaranteen Crush’.

Taking to Instagram, Ayushmann shared the song’s video and revealed that he composed and wrote ‘Kinni Soni’ along with his college friends — Sameer Kaushal and Gurpreet Saini.

“Wrote and composed this butterflies inducing song with Sameer Kaushal and Gurpreet Saini for Tahira’s lovely short film #QurantineCrush which comes under #FeelsLikeIshq. Loved collaborating with my college friends after so long. Felt like we were back in college during our late night jam sessions in Chandigarh winters,” he posted.

Singer Jonita Gandhi has given English vocals to the song. “Thank you Jonita for the angrezi vocals,” Ayushmann added. For the unversed, ‘Quaranteen Crush’ is a part of the just-released Netflix anthology ‘Feels Like Ishq’. The short movie revolves around the concept of a teenage crush and friendship during the pandemic.

Tahira even posted a short note on Instagram thanking Ayushmann for giving her ‘Kinni Soni’ song. “The song we were waiting for #kinnisoni..An integral part of my short #quaranteencrush that is a part of #feelslikeishq. This song really inspired me to create some magical moments between nimmi and Maninder on their terrace! Thank you @ayushmannk for giving me the song, thank you @s_a_m_k28 and @ghuggss for creating magic with it and thank you @jonitamusic for the mesmerising vocals, and thank you @gazaldhaliwal for this sweet script,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, on the film front, Ayushmann is busy shooting for ‘Doctor G’ in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The movie also stars Rakul Preet Singh and Shefali Shah..

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PRABHAS’ ‘RADHE SHYAM’ TO RELEASE ON 14 JANUARY

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MUMBAI: Prabhas’ most anticipated film ‘Radhye Shyam’ has finally got a release date. It will arrive in theatres on January 14, 2022.

On Friday, Prabhas took to Instagram to share the update with his fans. “Can’t wait to watch my romantic saga, ‘Radhe Shyam’, which has a brand new release date — 14th January, 2022 worldwide,” he wrote.

Along with it, Prabhas shared a new poster of the film, wherein he can be seen all decked up while walking on the streets of Europe.

For the unversed, ‘Radhe Shyam’, a multi-lingual film, is helmed by Radha Krishna Kumar, and it features actor Pooja Hegde as well. Pooja, too, expressed her excitement about the film’s release date as it is debuting on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti. “Woke up to this surprise. Sakranti has been lucky for me..fingers crossed for this epic love story,” she wrote on Instagram Story. ‘Radhe Shyam’ is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Vamsi and Pramod.

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DEEPIKA SHARES BTS PHOTO FROM HER SHOOT FOR SHAKUN BATRA’S NEXT

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MUMBAI: Seems like Deepika Padukone is asking for silence on the sets when she is at work as for the first time on Thursday she shared a BTS picture from her shoot for director Shakun Batra’s untitled next.

Taking to her Instagram handle, Deepika shared a picture from her untitled next, which appears to be the first glimpse of her character from the movie. The superstar could be seen dressed in a cozy sweatshirt and pants. With her hair tied in a high bun, Deepika could be seen busy while reading the script of the film.

Sharing the picture, she wrote, “Shh…Work in progress.” With the post hitting the photo-sharing platform, over three lakh fans liked it and many left red heart emojis.

Speaking about the film, apart from Deepika, Shakun Batra’s yet-to-be-titled film also stars Siddhanth Chaturvedi, Dhairya Karwa and Ananya Panday.The actor also has an impressive line-up of projects in the pipeline including ‘83’, ‘Baiju Bawra’, ‘Fighter’, ‘Sanki’, ‘Pathan’, and ‘K’, which is the Indian adaptation of Nancy Meyers’s 2015 hit Hollywood film ‘The Intern’, and will also feature megastar Amitabh Bachchan and ‘Bahubali’ star Prabhas.

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AKSHAY KUMAR ANNOUNCES NEW RELEASE DATE OF ‘BELL BOTTOM’

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MUMBAI: ‘Bell Bottom’, which was earlier scheduled to release on July 27 and was postponed due to coronavirus pandemic, will now arrive in theatres on August 19.

On Thursday, Akshay Kumar, who is the lead actor in the film, took to Instagram to share the news of the change in the film’s release date. “Mission: To entertain you on the big screen. Date: August 19, 2021. Announcing the arrival of BellBottom,” he wrote.

Akshay even treated his fans with a new teaser of the film, wherein it is written that ‘Bell Bottom’ is inspired by true events. Directed by Ranjit M Tewari, the movie also features Lara Dutta, Vaani Kapoor and Huma Qureshi.

‘Bell Bottom’, which is touted as a spy thriller, is bankrolled by Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani, Deepshikha Deshmukh, Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani, and Nikkhil Advani.

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RAHAT KAZMI’S EPIC RETELLING OF ‘LIHAAF’ IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF VOOT SELECT FILM FESTIVAL

Murtaza Ali Khan

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The celebrated Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai extensively wrote about freedom of speech, femininity, class conflict, homosexuality, and expression of female sexuality: The subjects continue to be as relevant today as they were when she first started out in the 1930s. The early phase of her writing career was marred by an obscenity trial where Chughtai had to defend herself in the Lahore Court in the year 1944—an incident which led to much controversy and uproar. The obscenity charges were leveled against Chughtai for a 1942 Urdu short story published in the Urdu literary journal “Adab-i-Latif”. Titled “Lihaaf” (aka “The Quilt”), the short story explores the theme of homoeroticism. Interestingly, Chughtai wasn’t put on trial alone. Another legendary Urdu writer was put on trial for obscenity alongside her. If you haven’t guessed it already, the writer was none other than Saadat Hasan Manto. Chughtai has given a detailed account of the trail in memoir “Kaghazi Hai Pairahan” (“A Life in Words: Memoir”).

Rahat Kazmi’s period drama film “Lihaaf: The Quilt” which is being streamed by Voot Select as part of Voot Select Film Festival, a direct to OTT Film Festival, is not just a retelling of the story of “Lihaaf” as one would expect, but it also focuses on the aforementioned obscenity trial. The story begins when Chughtai, living in Mumbai, is summoned by the Lahore Court. Considering the charges of obscenity to be totally preposterous, Chughtai refuses to sign on the orders at first. She just cannot believe that the Lahore Court has actually put her on a trial for obscenity for a story like “Lihaaf” that makes no direct suggestion to any sexual act. Everything in the story is so subtle that it’s all up to the reader’s interpretation. That’s the exact argument that her lawyer makes in the court. Chughtai is essayed by Tannistha Chatterjee who never misses a note during her brilliant performance. The part of Manto is played with a refreshing playfulness by Shoib Shah who ensures that the controversial writer isn’t presented as totally humorless like was the case with Nawawuddin Siddiqui’s Manto (as good as the portrayal was) in the Nandita Das film.

The fact that Chughtai’s works continue to be as relevant today as they were several decades ago proves that our society hasn’t evolved much. Burdened by the weight of centuries old patriarchy, the women are still fighting the same fights, over and over again. Now, “Lihaaf” remains the most popular of all of Ismat Chughtai’s stories. While at the time it’s mostly received attention for its suggestion of lesbianism, it also deals with the solitary life of a neglected wife in the feudal society. Chughtai’s thought-provoking short story is considered to be a landmark not just in Urdu literature but also in modern Indian literature which continues to see sex and homosexuality as a taboo.

The story of “Lihaaf” is told through the point of view of a small girl who is temporarily left by her mother to live with Begum Jan. The screenplay of Rahat Rahat’s film, co-written by Sonal Sehgal and Rahat himself, assumes the young girl to be none other than Ismat Chughtai herself. Begum’s depressing life after marriage to a Nawab in the 1920s Agra is intercut with Chughtai’s obscenity trail in the Lahore Court. Begum’s husband is much older than her. He is highly respected by those around her for never having any affairs with prostitutes—a trait that most Nawabs are notorious for. But it is soon revealed that it is because of his attraction to younger men. Meanwhile, the lonely Begum gets ill but is saved by Rabbo, her masseuse, who is very skilled with her hands. When the young Ismat Chughtai is left at Begum Jan’s place by her mother, she begins to make some interesting observations about Begum Jan and Rabbo. At night, she gets petrified by the great shadows formed by the exaggerated movements of Begum Jan’s quilt. Also, she is perplexed by Begum Jan’s mood swings and odd behavior when Rabbo goes away to stay with her family for a few days.

The film’s co-writer Sonal Sehgal, who previously worked with Rahat Kazmi on ‘Mantostaan’, also essays the complex part of Begum Jaan. As part of her preparation, Sehgal cut herself off from the world as she wanted to feel the Begum’s pain and loneliness. Begum Jaan is a victim of her circumstances as well as a perpetrator of crime against the helpless young girl. During the shoot, Sehgal requested the entire cast and crew to leave her alone as she restricted herself to her hotel room at all times except during her takes. And it shows on the screen. Mir Sarwar is also superb in the role of the Nawab. To his credit, Kazmi succeeds in bringing the story of the same sex relationship between a noblewoman and her masseuse back to life in all its glory almost eight decades after it was first published. Here is a film that needs to be watched.

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NATIONAL LIPSTICK DAY 2021: REINVENTING LIPSTICK IN THE ERA OF MASKS

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Remember those Monday mornings when you dressed up, put on your makeup, and rushed to work? It feels like a chapter from one of your old history textbooks, doesn’t it? The pandemic has changed our lives in ways we never even imagined—and our relationship with the world of makeup is no exception. From dolled-up Friday nights to recent Netflix binging in pyjamas, we indeed have lost a lot of our makeup items; and the worst affected is none other than our precious lipstick!

According to various reports, the sale of lipsticks saw a steep decline in 2020, as people conveniently skipped the one makeup item that was concealed under the mask. Even if we might use lip balms or an occasional lip gloss for a work call, we have pretty much said goodbye to red and pink shades of lipsticks.

However, before you completely give up on your favourite and expensive lipsticks, here are some tips shared by Chaitra Krishnan, makeup expert, Stylecraze telling all the lovely ladies- how to repurpose your lipsticks and still use them in areas that are not covered by your mask!

1. Eye makeup products undoubtedly do better than lipsticks, and this is where we can incorporate our lipsticks. Liquid lipsticks work as amazing eyeshadows and eyeliners if you have got the right brushes to apply them. They dry up super quickly and are almost smudge-free. If you feel like going for a blended, smokey eye look with a bit of colour, then use your creme lipsticks. Keep in mind, it is extremely important to check the ingredients in these products to make sure they are safe for your eyes. A patch test is also recommended to avoid any allergic reactions.

2. Another task your lipsticks can carry on successfully is colour correction. Did you know your orange/red lipstick is an extremely good colour corrector and can help cover your dark circles, acne scars, and uneven skin tone? If you own unusual but always stylish lip colours like green, those can be used to colour correct redness on the skin. So, get your favourite makeup sponge and blend the lipstick well in areas that need to be covered up, and layer the colour with a medium-to-full coverage concealer or foundation.

3. If you feel sad about your everyday mellow brown lipstick gathering mould inside its case, it’s time to give it a makeover! Brown lip colours are extremely useful when it comes to contouring and highlighting, provided they are easy to blend. Liquid lipsticks should not be used for this task since they’re difficult to blend. This way, you can highlight your forehead area and jawline to make your face look attractive even when you are wearing a mask.

4. Apart from all of these, you can always use up your lipstick as a cheek tint for a natural blush look. Don’t forget to blend it well. Pro-tip is to always use your fingers to spread the shade on your cheeks.

ANI

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