Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

El color del ala y las preferencias de apareamiento de Heliconius sara


Emily Loew



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Publication Date

May 2007


Convergence in aposematic coloration of chemically-protected butterflies, or Müllerian Mimicry, improves advertisement of unpalatability to predators. Heliconius sara (Heliconiinae) has two races in Costa Rica, each matching a different Müllerian model, one with and the other without a yellow stripe on the bottom edge of the hindwing. Color switching in Heliconius spp. is common but may involve a conflict between natural selection for convergence to models and sexual selection for maintenance of the original color pattern. Here, I manipulate the color pattern of H. sara to determine the degree to which sexual selection constrains color pattern switching. This study was conducted in the Monteverde Butterfly Garden in Monteverde, Costa Rica and looked at mating behaviors of 75 Atlantic race H. sara, which have uniformly black hindwings. Newly- emerged individuals were painted with a stripe of yellow or black on the bottom edge of the hindwing. Mating behavior was observed over 11 days. Males did not show a preference for female wing color for approach, chasing, courtship or rejection (Chi- squared test, df = 3, p < 0.05). However, females seemed to prefer black painted males for approach, chasing and courtship (Chi-squared test, df = 3, p < 0.05). If black is the ancestral condition, these results suggest that color pattern switching in H. sara is constrained by female mate choice. La convergencia en la coloración aposemática de las mariposas químicamente protegidas, y el mimetismo de Müller, mejoran la advertencia de la inapetencia a los depredadores. Heliconius sara (Heliconiinae) tiene dos razas en Costa Rica, cada uno hace pareja con un modelo diferente de Müller, una con y la otra sin una raya amarilla en el borde inferior de las alas posteriores. La conmutación del color en Heliconius spp. es común, pero puede implicar un conflicto entre la selección natural para la convergencia con los modelos y la selección sexual para el mantenimiento del patrón del color original. Aquí, manipuló el patrón del color del H. sara para determinar el grado en que la selección sexual limita el cambio del patrón de color. Este estudio se llevó a cabo en el Jardín de Mariposas en Monteverde, Costa Rica y mire los comportamientos de apareamiento de 75 razas Atlánticas de H.sara, que tienen las alas posteriores de manera uniforme negro.


Butterflies--Behavior, Mariposas--Comportamiento, Warning coloration (Biology), Color de advertencia (Biologia), Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde, CIEE Spring 2007, CIEE Primavera 2007


Student affiliation : Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin - Madison Born Digital

Subject: topical

Butterflies--Behavior; Mariposas--Comportamiento; Warning coloration (Biology); Color de advertencia (Biologia); CIEE Spring 2007; CIEE Primavera 2007

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Wing color and mating preferences of Heliconius sara



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