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Climate predicts both visible and near-infrared reflectance in butterflies
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  • Changku Kang,
  • Sehyeok Im,
  • Won Young Lee,
  • Yunji Choi,
  • Devi Stuart-Fox,
  • Blanca Huertas
Changku Kang
Mokpo National University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Sehyeok Im
Korea Polar Research Institute
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Won Young Lee
Korea Polar Research Institute
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Yunji Choi
Imperial College London
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Devi Stuart-Fox
University of Melbourne School of BioSciences
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Blanca Huertas
Natural History Museum London
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Climatic gradients frequently predict large-scale ecogeographical patterns in animal coloration, but the underlying causes are often difficult to disentangle. We examined ecogeographical patterns of reflectance among 343 European butterfly species and isolated the role of selection for thermal benefits by comparing visible and near-infrared (NIR) wavebands. NIR light accounts for ~50% of solar energy but cannot be seen by animals so functions primarily in thermal control. We found that reflectance of both dorsal and ventral surfaces shows thermally adaptive correlations with climate. This adaptive variation was more prominent in NIR than visible wavebands and for body regions (thorax-abdomen and basal wings) that are pivotal for thermoregulation. Thermal environments also predicted the reflectance difference between dorsal and ventral surfaces, which may be due to modulation between requirements for heating and cooling. These results highlight the importance of climatic gradients in shaping the reflectance properties of butterflies at a continent-wide scale.
27 Jan 2021Submitted to Ecology Letters
28 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
28 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
01 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
17 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
23 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
07 Apr 20211st Revision Received
07 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
07 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
07 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
27 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
10 May 20212nd Revision Received
11 May 2021Assigned to Editor
11 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
12 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
14 May 2021Editorial Decision: Accept