Colour pattern evolution in butterflies

A phylogenetic analysis of structural ultraviolet and melanic markings in North American sulphurs

Darrell J. Kemp, Ronald L. Rutowski, Mary Mendoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The males of many butterflies are more brightly coloured than conspecific females and this sexual dichromatism often extends into ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. Sexual selection, acting either in the context of intra- or intersexual interactions, is thought responsible for the relative brightness of the male visage; however, this hypothesis has been difficult to test experimentally. In this study, we undertake an indirect evaluation of this idea by analysing the phylogenetic distribution of two elements of male colour pattern - UV reflectance and melanic markings - in North American sulphur butterflies. Only the UV element, which derives from nanometre-scale surface structures and is extremely bright and spectrally pure, is expected to be of sexually selected origin. We therefore predicted, based upon prior theoretical treatments, that UV colour pattern should exhibit a polyphyletic distribution typical of a sexually selected trait, whereas melanic patterns should not. We charted the distribution of each colour element across the dorsal hind- and fore-wing surfaces of 26 species (spanning four genera), and summarized the resulting intraspecific variation in colour pattern using principal components analysis. Analysis of among- versus within-sister species group variance confirmed, as predicted, a largely polyphyletic distribution for UV but not melanic patterns. We also found that variation in fore-wing UV patterning could be considered orthogonal of hind-wing variation. These findings shed interesting light on the evolution of structural coloration in this group and add strength to the idea that brilliant male coloration is principally of sexually selected origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Volume7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

Fingerprint

Butterflies
Sulfur
butterfly
butterflies
sulfur
Color
phylogenetics
color
phylogeny
intrasexual interaction
intersexual interaction
intraspecific variation
sexual selection
Principal Component Analysis
reflectance
principal component analysis
wavelength
distribution
analysis
wavelengths

Keywords

  • Lepidoptera
  • Mate choice
  • Sexual selection
  • Visual signalling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this

Colour pattern evolution in butterflies : A phylogenetic analysis of structural ultraviolet and melanic markings in North American sulphurs. / Kemp, Darrell J.; Rutowski, Ronald L.; Mendoza, Mary.

In: Evolutionary Ecology Research, Vol. 7, No. 1, 01.2005, p. 133-141.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{ea762d7440114e258200ab4f85c1b7b0,
title = "Colour pattern evolution in butterflies: A phylogenetic analysis of structural ultraviolet and melanic markings in North American sulphurs",
abstract = "The males of many butterflies are more brightly coloured than conspecific females and this sexual dichromatism often extends into ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. Sexual selection, acting either in the context of intra- or intersexual interactions, is thought responsible for the relative brightness of the male visage; however, this hypothesis has been difficult to test experimentally. In this study, we undertake an indirect evaluation of this idea by analysing the phylogenetic distribution of two elements of male colour pattern - UV reflectance and melanic markings - in North American sulphur butterflies. Only the UV element, which derives from nanometre-scale surface structures and is extremely bright and spectrally pure, is expected to be of sexually selected origin. We therefore predicted, based upon prior theoretical treatments, that UV colour pattern should exhibit a polyphyletic distribution typical of a sexually selected trait, whereas melanic patterns should not. We charted the distribution of each colour element across the dorsal hind- and fore-wing surfaces of 26 species (spanning four genera), and summarized the resulting intraspecific variation in colour pattern using principal components analysis. Analysis of among- versus within-sister species group variance confirmed, as predicted, a largely polyphyletic distribution for UV but not melanic patterns. We also found that variation in fore-wing UV patterning could be considered orthogonal of hind-wing variation. These findings shed interesting light on the evolution of structural coloration in this group and add strength to the idea that brilliant male coloration is principally of sexually selected origin.",
keywords = "Lepidoptera, Mate choice, Sexual selection, Visual signalling",
author = "Kemp, {Darrell J.} and Rutowski, {Ronald L.} and Mary Mendoza",
year = "2005",
month = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "7",
pages = "133--141",
journal = "Evolutionary Ecology Research",
issn = "1522-0613",
publisher = "Evolutionary Ecology Research",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Colour pattern evolution in butterflies

T2 - A phylogenetic analysis of structural ultraviolet and melanic markings in North American sulphurs

AU - Kemp, Darrell J.

AU - Rutowski, Ronald L.

AU - Mendoza, Mary

PY - 2005/1

Y1 - 2005/1

N2 - The males of many butterflies are more brightly coloured than conspecific females and this sexual dichromatism often extends into ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. Sexual selection, acting either in the context of intra- or intersexual interactions, is thought responsible for the relative brightness of the male visage; however, this hypothesis has been difficult to test experimentally. In this study, we undertake an indirect evaluation of this idea by analysing the phylogenetic distribution of two elements of male colour pattern - UV reflectance and melanic markings - in North American sulphur butterflies. Only the UV element, which derives from nanometre-scale surface structures and is extremely bright and spectrally pure, is expected to be of sexually selected origin. We therefore predicted, based upon prior theoretical treatments, that UV colour pattern should exhibit a polyphyletic distribution typical of a sexually selected trait, whereas melanic patterns should not. We charted the distribution of each colour element across the dorsal hind- and fore-wing surfaces of 26 species (spanning four genera), and summarized the resulting intraspecific variation in colour pattern using principal components analysis. Analysis of among- versus within-sister species group variance confirmed, as predicted, a largely polyphyletic distribution for UV but not melanic patterns. We also found that variation in fore-wing UV patterning could be considered orthogonal of hind-wing variation. These findings shed interesting light on the evolution of structural coloration in this group and add strength to the idea that brilliant male coloration is principally of sexually selected origin.

AB - The males of many butterflies are more brightly coloured than conspecific females and this sexual dichromatism often extends into ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. Sexual selection, acting either in the context of intra- or intersexual interactions, is thought responsible for the relative brightness of the male visage; however, this hypothesis has been difficult to test experimentally. In this study, we undertake an indirect evaluation of this idea by analysing the phylogenetic distribution of two elements of male colour pattern - UV reflectance and melanic markings - in North American sulphur butterflies. Only the UV element, which derives from nanometre-scale surface structures and is extremely bright and spectrally pure, is expected to be of sexually selected origin. We therefore predicted, based upon prior theoretical treatments, that UV colour pattern should exhibit a polyphyletic distribution typical of a sexually selected trait, whereas melanic patterns should not. We charted the distribution of each colour element across the dorsal hind- and fore-wing surfaces of 26 species (spanning four genera), and summarized the resulting intraspecific variation in colour pattern using principal components analysis. Analysis of among- versus within-sister species group variance confirmed, as predicted, a largely polyphyletic distribution for UV but not melanic patterns. We also found that variation in fore-wing UV patterning could be considered orthogonal of hind-wing variation. These findings shed interesting light on the evolution of structural coloration in this group and add strength to the idea that brilliant male coloration is principally of sexually selected origin.

KW - Lepidoptera

KW - Mate choice

KW - Sexual selection

KW - Visual signalling

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=14844346633&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=14844346633&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 7

SP - 133

EP - 141

JO - Evolutionary Ecology Research

JF - Evolutionary Ecology Research

SN - 1522-0613

IS - 1

ER -