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Eyespot evolution: phylogenetic insights from Junonia and related butterfly genera (Nymphalidae)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2009 (English)In: Evolution & Development, ISSN 1520-541X, Vol. 11, no 5, 489-497 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Butterfly eyespots have been the focus of a number of developmental and evolutionary studies. However, a phylogenetic component has rarely been explicitly incorporated in these studies. In this study, I utilize a phylogeny to trace the evolution of eyespot number and position on the wing in a group of nymphalid butterflies, the subtribe Junoniini. These butterflies have two kinds of eyespot arrangements which I refer to as Serial and Individual. In the Serial arrangement, eyespots are placed in a series on compartments 1-6 (counting from the anterior wing margin). In the Individual arrangement, eyespots are isolated on specific compartments, ranging from 1 to 4 in number. This can be divided into four subtypes based on the number and positions of eyespots. I map the evolution of these five arrangements over a phylogeny of Junoniini reconstructed with ca. 3000 base pairs of sequence data from three genes. The results show that almost all arrangements have evolved at least twice, with multiple shifts between them by addition and deletion of eyespots. I propose a model involving genetic or developmental coupling between eyespots in specific compartments to explain these shifts. I discuss their evolution in light of existing knowledge about their development. I also discuss potential explanations for functional significance of the eyespot patterns found in the group. Differential selection for and against eyespots, both at different times over the phylogeny and in different regions, have driven the evolution of eyespot arrangements. The study throws open many questions about the adaptive significance of eyespots and the developmental underpinnings of the various arrangements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 11, no 5, 489-497 p.
National Category
Biological Systematics Developmental Biology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-33186DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-142X.2009.00357.xISI: 000269729200005PubMedID: 19754706OAI: diva2:282585
Available from: 2009-12-21 Created: 2009-12-21 Last updated: 2009-12-22Bibliographically approved

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Kodandaramaiah, Ullasa
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