The evolutionary history of the 'alba' polymorphism in the butterfly subfamily Coliadinae (Lepidoptera: Pieridae)

Lisa Limeri, Nathan I. Morehouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Polymorphisms are common in the natural world and have played an important role in our understanding of how selection maintains multiple phenotypes within extant populations. Studying the evolutionary history of polymorphisms has revealed important features of this widespread form of phenotypic diversity, including its role in speciation, niche breadth, and range size. In the present study, we examined the evolutionary history of a ubiquitous colour polymorphism in the sulphur butterflies (subfamily: Coliadinae) termed the ‘alba’ polymorphism. We investigated the origin and stability of the ‘alba’ polymorphism using ancestral state reconstruction analysis. Our results indicate that the ancestor of the Coliadinae was polymorphic and that this polymorphism has undergone repeated transitions to monomorphism. Repeated loss of polymorphism suggests that the ‘alba’ polymorphism may be relatively unstable over evolutionary time. These results provide a framework for future studies on the ori
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-724
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

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