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Balanced polymorphisms and their divergence in a Heliconius butterfly
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  • James Ogilvie,
  • Steven Van Belleghem,
  • Mathieu Chouteau,
  • Ryan Range,
  • Riccardo Papa,
  • Owen McMillan ,
  • Brian Counterman
James Ogilvie
Auburn University
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Steven Van Belleghem
University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras
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Mathieu Chouteau
Universite de la Guyane
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Ryan Range
Auburn University
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Riccardo Papa
University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras
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Owen McMillan
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
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Brian Counterman
Auburn University
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Abstract

The evolution of mimicry in similarly defended prey is well described by Müllerian mimicry theory, which predicts the convergence of warning patterns in order to gain the most protection from predators. However, despite this prediction, we can find great diversity of color patterns amongst Müllerian mimics such as Heliconius butterflies in the neotropics. Furthermore, some species have evolved the ability to maintain multiple distinct warning patterns in single populations, a phenomenon known as polymorphic mimicry. The adaptive benefit of these polymorphisms is questionable since variation from the most common warning patterns is expected to be disadvantageous as novel signals are punished by predators naive to them. In this study, we use artificial butterfly models throughout Central and South America to characterize the selective pressures maintaining polymorphic mimicry in Heliconius doris. Our results highlight the complexity of positive frequency-dependent selection, the principal selective pressure driving convergence amongst Müllerian mimics, and its impacts on interspecific variation of mimetic warning colouration. We further show how this selection regime can both limit and facilitate the diversification of mimetic traits.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

09 Aug 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
10 Aug 2021Submission Checks Completed
10 Aug 2021Assigned to Editor
13 Aug 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
04 Sep 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
15 Nov 20211st Revision Received
16 Nov 2021Submission Checks Completed
16 Nov 2021Assigned to Editor
16 Nov 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Nov 2021Editorial Decision: Accept