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Data from: Complex dynamics underlie the evolution of imperfect wing pattern convergence in butterflies


Finkbeiner, Susan D.; Briscoe, Adriana D.; Mullen, Sean Patrick (2016), Data from: Complex dynamics underlie the evolution of imperfect wing pattern convergence in butterflies, Dryad, Dataset,


Adaptive radiation is characterized by rapid diversification that is strongly associated with ecological specialization. However, understanding the evolutionary mechanisms fueling adaptive diversification requires a detailed knowledge of how natural selection acts at multiple life-history stages. Butterflies within the genus Adelpha represent one of the largest and most diverse butterfly lineages in the Neotropics. Although Adelpha species feed on an extraordinary diversity of larval hosts, convergent evolution is widespread in this group suggesting that selection for mimicry may contribute to adaptive divergence among species. To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted predation studies in Costa Rica using artificial butterfly facsimiles. Specifically, we predicted that non-toxic, palatable Adelpha species that do not feed on host plants in the family Rubiaceae would benefit from sharing a locally convergent wing pattern with the presumably toxic Rubiaceae-feeding species via reduced predation. Contrary to expectations, we found that the presumed mimic was attacked significantly more than its locally convergent model, at a frequency paralleling attack rates on both novel and palatable prey. Although these data reveal the first evidence for protection from avian predators by the supposed toxic, Rubiaceae-feeding Adelpha species, we conclude that imprecise mimetic patterns have high costs for Batesian mimics in the tropics.

Usage Notes


National Science Foundation, Award: 1342712


Costa Rica