This paper demonstrates that foraging summer-form females of the Japanese yellow swallowtail butterfly Papilio xuthus have colour vision. The butterflies were trained to feed on sucrose solution placed on a disk of a particular colour in a cage set in the laboratory. After a few such training runs, a butterfly was presented with the training colour randomly positioned within an array of disks of other colours, but with no sucrose solution. The results indicate that the butterflies learn rapidly to select the training colour reliably among different colours. The training colour was also correctly selected when it was covered with neutral density filters to reduce its brightness, or even when the colour was presented together with disks of a variety of shades of grey. These results demonstrate convincingly, for the first time, that a butterfly has true colour vision.

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