Ecological and genetic factors influencing the transition between host‐use strategies in sympatric Heliconius butterflies

  title={Ecological and genetic factors influencing the transition between host‐use strategies in sympatric Heliconius butterflies},
  author={Richard M. Merrill and Russell E. Naisbit and James Mallet and C. Jiggins},
  journal={Journal of Evolutionary Biology},
Shifts in host‐plant use by phytophagous insects have played a central role in their diversification. Evolving host‐use strategies will reflect a trade‐off between selection pressures. The ecological niche of herbivorous insects is partitioned along several dimensions, and if populations remain in contact, recombination will break down associations between relevant loci. As such, genetic architecture can profoundly affect the coordinated divergence of traits and subsequently the ability to… 
Host Plant Choice Determined by Reproductive Interference between Closely Related Butterflies
Evidence is presented that sexual exclusion can explain the shift in host plant use by two Pierid butterfly species, Pieris napi and Pieris melete, when a novel host species was introduced about 50 years ago.
Characterising reproductive barriers between three closely related Heliconius butterfly taxa.
Initial analyses of the F2 hybrid phenotypes suggest that several loci control these traits and pave the way for future genetic analyses to further understand the role of gene flow in speciation.
What shapes the continuum of reproductive isolation? Lessons from Heliconius butterflies
A comparative analysis of existing and novel data is carried out in order to quantify the strength and direction of isolating barriers within a well-studied clade of Heliconius, highlighting that increased divergence is associated with the accumulation of stronger and more numerous barriers to gene flow.
Species specificity and intraspecific variation in the chemical profiles of Heliconius butterflies across a large geographic range
The strong signal of species identity suggests a role for compounds characteristic of particular species that included known biologically active compounds in species recognition, but with additional potentially neutral variation at the population level.
Geographic contrasts between pre‐ and postzygotic barriers are consistent with reinforcement in Heliconius butterflies
The lack of assortative mating and hybrid sterility observed in allopatric populations suggests that geographic isolation enables the evolution of intrinsic postzygotic reproductive isolation.
Phenotypic plasticity in chemical defence allows butterflies to diversify host use strategies
P phenotypic plasticity in biochemical responses to different host plants offers Heliconius butterflies the ability to widen their range of potential host within the Passiflora genus, while maintaining their chemical defences.
Climatic niche evolution is faster in sympatric than allopatric lineages of the butterfly genus Pyrgus
The results reveal the macro-evolutionary significance of abiotic niche differentiation involved in speciation processes within biogeographical regions, and illustrate the importance of the spatial scale chosen to define areas when applying parametric biogeographic analyses.
Phenotypic plasticity in chemical defence of butterflies allows usage of diverse host plants
P phenotypic plasticity in biochemical responses to different host plants offers Heliconius butterflies the ability to widen their range of potential hosts within the Passiflora genus, while maintaining their chemical defences.
Neural divergence and hybrid disruption between ecologically isolated Heliconius butterflies
Examination of brain morphology and neural gene expression between closely related, but ecologically distinct, Heliconius butterflies shows differences in both neural morphology and gene expression are heritable, exceed expected rates of neutral divergence, and result in intermediate traits in first-generation hybrid offspring.
Divergent warning patterns contribute to assortative mating between incipient Heliconius species
It is revealed that divergent color patterns contribute to mate recognition between the incipient species Heliconius himera and H. erato, a taxon pair for which assortative mating by color pattern has been demonstrated among wild individuals, and it is demonstrated that males are more likely to attempt to mate conspecific females.


Host plant adaptation has not played a role in the recent speciation of Heliconius himera and Heliconius erato
An experiment was carried out to association between Heliconius and their Passifloraceae host investigate the causes of speciation in a pair of parapatric sister plants, finding differences in host plant use between these sister species could suggest speciation by host plant shifts.
  • J. Thompson
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1988
This is the first insect group for which partial control of oviposition preference has been localized onto a particular chromosome.
Genetics of host plant use and life history in the comma butterfly across Europe: varying modes of inheritance as a potential reproductive barrier
This type of potential reproductive barrier based on multiple ecologically important traits deserves more attention, as it should be a common situation for instance in the early stages of population divergence in host plant usage, facilitating ecological speciation.
Female responses were influenced by among-individual variation in male signals and females, suggesting the involvement of sexual selection in the evolution of these communication systems.
Inheritance and plasticity of adult host acceptance in Yponomeuta species: implications for host shifts in specialist herbivores
The inheritance of adult host acceptance (oviposition) in three closely related species of Yponomeuta Latreille and their interspecific hybrids is described, concluding that the semi‐dominant character of acceptance of E. europaeus and a tendency of Rosaceae‐feeding Yp onomeuta to deposit egg masses on this host may have created the opportunity for the host shift of the predecessor of Y. cagnagellus from Rosaceae to the Celastraceae.
Polymorphic Butterfly Reveals the Missing Link in Ecological Speciation
Study of a butterfly population with a mimetic wing color polymorphism found that the butterflies exhibited partial, color-based, assortative mate preference, which represent the divergent, ecologically based signal and preference components of sexual isolation that usually distinguish incipient and sibling species.
Pervasive genetic associations between traits causing reproductive isolation in Heliconius butterflies
This genetic architecture in which ‘speciation genes’ are clustered in the genome can facilitate two controversial models of speciation, namely divergence in the face of gene flow and hybrid speciation.
Disruptive ecological selection on a mating cue
The experiments showed that hybrid colour-pattern phenotypes are attacked more frequently than parental forms, and for the first time, disruptive ecological selection on a trait that also acts as a mating cue is demonstrated.
Genetic linkage of ecological specialization and reproductive isolation in pea aphids
A model of the role of genetic correlations in specialization and speciation is presented, and several complexes of pleiotropic or closely linked quantitative trait loci that affect key traits in ways that would promote speciation are found.
Genetic differentiation without mimicry shift in a pair of hybridizing Heliconius species (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)
Butterflies in the genus Heliconius have undergone rapid adaptive radiation for warning patterns and mimicry, and are excellent models to study the mechanisms underlying diversification. In