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Variable selection and the coexistence of multiple mimetic forms of the butterfly Heliconius numata

Joron, M; Wynne, IR; Lamas, G; Mallet, J; (1999) Variable selection and the coexistence of multiple mimetic forms of the butterfly Heliconius numata. EVOL ECOL , 13 (7-8) 721 - 754.

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Abstract

Polymorphism in aposematic animals and coexistence of multiple mimicry rings within a habitat are not predicted by classical Mullerian mimicry. The butterfly Heliconius numata Cramer (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae; Heliconiinae) is both polymorphic and aposematic. The polymorphism is due to variation at a single locus (or 'supergene') which determines colour patterns involved in Mullerian mimicry. We sampled 11 sites in a small area (approx. 60x30km) of North-eastern Peru for H. numata and its co-mimics in the genus Melinaea and Athyrtis (Ithomiinae), and examined the role of temporal and spatial heterogeneity in the maintenance of polymorphism. Colour-patterns of Melinaea communities, which constitute the likely 'mimetic environment' for H. numata, are differentiated on a more local scale than morphs of H. numata, but the latter do show a strong and significant response to local selection for colour-pattern. In contrast, analysis of enzyme polymorphism in H. numata across the region revealed no spatial structure, which is consistent with a high mobility of this species. Differences in spatial variability in the two taxa may have caused H. numata to become polymorphic, while temporal variability, not significant in this study, probably has a lesser effect. The mimetic polymorphism is therefore explained by means of multiple selection-migration clines at a single locus, a similar process to that which explains narrow hybrid zones between geographic races of other Heliconius butterflies.

Type: Article
Title: Variable selection and the coexistence of multiple mimetic forms of the butterfly Heliconius numata
Keywords: Heliconius numata, Melinaea, Ithomiinae, aposematism, Mullerian mimicry, polymorphism, spatial heterogeneity, frequency-dependent selection, population genetic structure, DANAUS-CHRYSIPPUS L, MULLERIAN MIMICRY, HYBRID ZONE, WARNING-COLOR, HOME RANGE, GENE FLOW, LEPIDOPTERA, POLYMORPHISM, NYMPHALIDAE, EVOLUTION
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/130332
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