A male gift to its partner? Cyanogenic glycosides in the spermatophore of longwing butterflies (Heliconius)

  title={A male gift to its partner? Cyanogenic glycosides in the spermatophore of longwing butterflies (Heliconius)},
  author={M{\'a}rcio Zik{\'a}n Cardoso and Lawrence E. Gilbert},
Males of several insect species transfer nuptial gifts to females during mating, typically in the form of a protein-rich spermatophore. In chemically defended species, males could potentially enhance such a gift with chemicals that help protect the female, her eggs, or both. This was shown for lepidopteran species that accumulate pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Most Heliconius butterflies are presumably protected from predators by virtue of de novo synthesized and/or sequestered cyanogenic glycosides… 

Sequestration and functional diversification of cyanogenic glucosides in the life cycle of Heliconius melpomene

How the CNglc composition and expression of the putative P450s involved in the biosynthesis of these compounds vary at different development stages of Heliconius butterflies is determined and shed light on the importance of CNglcs in Heliconii biology and for their coevolution with Passiflora.

The arms race between heliconiine butterflies and Passiflora plants – new insights on an ancient subject

Although the heliconiine–Passiflora model system has been intensively studied, the forces driving host‐plant preference in these butterflies remain unclear and there remain many exciting unanswered questions concerning this model system.

Prenuptial agreements: mating frequency predicts gift‐giving in Heliconius species

This is the first report to show that degree of polyandry correlates with allocation of defensive chemical as part of a nuptial gift, and both spermatophore weight and cyanide content were correlated with mating frequency.

Spermatophore Quality and Production in two Heliconius Butterflies with Contrasting Mating Systems

It is confirmed that polyandrous Heliconius invest more in spermatophore quality than its monandrous congener.



Adult-obtained pyrrolizidine alkaloids defend ithomiine butterflies against a spider predator

It is shown here that the protection of ithomiines against this abundant predator is due to dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloid monoesters and their N-oxides, absent from Solanaceae but sequestered by these butterflies as adults from flowers and decomposing foliage and also important in the reproduction of the Ithomiinae11,14.

Male mating history and female fecundity in the Lepidoptera: do male virgins make better partners?

A meta-analysis using data from 29 studies of 25 species found that the reproductive output of females mated to virgin males was significantly higher than that of femalesmated to sexually experienced males, and possible reasons why male mating history, presumably acting through its effect on spermatophore size, might have a stronger effect in polyandrous than monandrous species are discussed.

Cyanogenic glucosides and plant-insect interactions.

Biparental defensive endowment of eggs with acquired plant alkaloid in the moth Utetheisa ornatrix.

Field and laboratory tests showed that the alkaloids of Utetheisa ornatrix protect eggs from predators, and a previously identified pheromone, derived by the male from the alkAloid and emitted during precopulatory behavior, may announce the male alkaloidal worth to the female.

Effects of spermatophores on male and female monarch butterfly reproductive success

There was wide variation in the number of matings by captive males, suggesting the potential for strong sexual selection on males and two effects of spermatophores on female behavior or fecundity are reported.

Higher level phylogeny for the passion‐vine butterflies (Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae) based on early stage and adult morphology

A higher level phylogeny for the passion-vine butterflies (Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae) was generated by cladistic analysis of 146 morphological characters from all life stages, and supported the monophyly of all currently recognized genera.

Cyanogenesis in Turnera ulmifolia L. (Turneraceae). I. Phenotypic distribution and genetic variation for cyanogenesis on Jamaica

A survey of 39 discrete populations of Turnera ulmifolia on Jamaica reveals extensive phenotypic variation for cyanogenesis among populations and identifies potential selective agents that might account for the spatial distribution of cyanogenesis.