Browsing by Subject "Mullerian mimicry"

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  • Bainbridge, Hannah E.; Brien, Melanie N.; Morochz, Carlos; Salazar, Patricio A.; Rastas, Pasi; Nadeau, Nicola J. (2020)
    Mimetic systems allow us to address the question of whether the same genes control similar phenotypes in different species. Although widespread parallels have been found for major effect loci, much less is known about genes that control quantitative trait variation. In this study, we identify and compare the loci that control subtle changes in the size and shape of forewing pattern elements in twoHeliconiusbutterfly co-mimics. We use quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis with a multivariate phenotyping approach to map the variation in red pattern elements across the whole forewing surface ofHeliconius eratoandHeliconius melpomene. These results are compared with a QTL analysis of univariate trait changes, and show that our resolution for identifying small effect loci is somewhat improved with the multivariate approach, but also that different loci are detected with these different approaches. QTL likely corresponding to the known patterning geneoptixwere found in both species but otherwise, a remarkably low level of genetic parallelism was found. This lack of similarity indicates that the genetic basis of convergent traits may not be as predictable as assumed from studies that focus solely on Mendelian traits.
  • Kikuchi, David W.; Herberstein, Marie E.; Barfield, Michael; Holt, Robert D.; Mappes, Johanna (2021)
    Warning signals are a striking example of natural selection present in almost every ecological community - from Nordic meadows to tropical rainforests, defended prey species and their mimics ward off potential predators before they attack. Yet despite the wide distribution of warning signals, they are relatively scarce as a proportion of the total prey available, and more so in some biomes than others. Classically, warning signals are thought to be governed by positive density-dependent selection, i.e. they succeed better when they are more common. Therefore, after surmounting this initial barrier to their evolution, it is puzzling that they remain uncommon on the scale of the community. Here, we explore factors likely to determine the prevalence of warning signals in prey assemblages. These factors include the nature of prey defences and any constraints upon them, the behavioural interactions of predators with different prey defences, the numerical responses of predators governed by movement and reproduction, the diversity and abundance of undefended alternative prey and Batesian mimics in the community, and variability in other ecological circumstances. We also discuss the macroevolution of warning signals. Our review finds that we have a basic understanding of how many species in some taxonomic groups have warning signals, but very little information on the interrelationships among population abundances across prey communities, the diversity of signal phenotypes, and prey defences. We also have detailed knowledge of how a few generalist predator species forage in artificial laboratory environments, but we know much less about how predators forage in complex natural communities with variable prey defences. We describe how empirical work to address each of these knowledge gaps can test specific hypotheses for why warning signals exhibit their particular patterns of distribution. This will help us to understand how behavioural interactions shape ecological communities.