Navigation Links
Butterfly vision, wing colors linked, UCI study finds
Date:2/16/2010

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 16, 2010 Butterfly experts have suspected for more than 150 years that vision plays a key role in explaining wing color diversity. Now, for the first time, research led by UC Irvine biologists proves this theory true at least in nine Heliconius species.

Butterflies that have a duplicate gene allowing them to see ultraviolet colors also have UV-yellow pigment on their wings, reports the study by UCI's Adriana Briscoe, Seth Bybee and colleagues. The UV-yellow pigment may help the butterflies survive by facilitating the search for appropriate mates, which leaves more time for reproducing, eating and thriving.

"They're not wasting their time chasing after the wrong mate," said Briscoe, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and lead author of the study, published online recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Butterflies developed a copy of their UV-vision gene and began displaying UV-yellow pigment 12 million to 25 million years ago, the scientists believe. Of the 14,000 butterfly species in the world, only the Heliconius living in the forests of Mexico and Central and South America are known to have the duplicate gene.

After researchers discovered the copied gene, "we wanted to find out why it might be advantageous," Briscoe said. They examined thousands of wing-color patches and found that butterflies with just one UV-vision gene had yellow wing pigment that was not UV. However, the pigment was UV in butterflies with both genes.

Early naturalists hypothesized that wing-color mimicry causing butterflies to resemble bad-tasting relatives emerged as a defense mechanism to confuse predators such as birds. This created a problem, though: Butterflies that evolved to look alike had a hard time identifying the right species with which to mate.

Having both genes allows molecules to form in the eyes that are more sensitive to UV light. "We think that by switching to a new way of making yellow, the mimetic butterfly species were better able to tell each other apart," Briscoe said.

The diverse wing patterns of Heliconius butterflies have generated much scientific interest in recent years, including a genome-sequencing project co-directed by UCI's Robert Reed, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology.

Said Briscoe: "We now have strong reason to believe that we'll find other examples in which vision and wing colors are linked."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Fitzenberger
jfitzen@uci.edu
949-824-3969
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UF to auction naming rights for new butterfly species online
2. New study uncovers secrets behind butterfly wing patterns
3. UFs new owl butterfly species naming rights auctioned for $40,800
4. Butterfly fish may face extinction
5. When the butterfly bush blossoms
6. Sexy or repulsive? Butterfly wings can be both to mates and predators
7. Panama butterfly migrations linked to El Niño, climate change
8. Panama butterfly migrations linked to El Nio, climate change
9. Hearing on the wing: New structure discovered in butterfly ears
10. Climate change and habitat destruction affect butterfly populations
11. £3.2m ($5.4 million) research project to capture brilliance of butterfly wings
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/27/2017)... 2017   Strategic Cyber Ventures , the industry,s ... a $3.5 million investment in  Polarity , the first ... is DC based and is led by cybersecurity veterans ... Ron Gula , also a longtime cybersecurity veteran ... this series A round of funding. This new funding ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... , Feb. 22, 2017 With the ... ABI Research identifies four technologies that innovative and ... secure significant share in the changing competitive landscape: ... passive authentication.   "Companies can no ... to security," says Dimitrios Pavlakis , Industry ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017  Genos, a community ... that it has received Laboratory Accreditation from the ... is presented to laboratories that meet stringent requirements ... scientifically rigorous processes. "Genos is committed ... laboratory practices. We,re honored to be receiving CAP ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... Arlington, VA (PRWEB) , ... March 29, 2017 ... ... a wearable patch comprising multiple separable adhesive layers, as issued by the U.S. ... adhesive layers as it applies to combining electronics and health monitoring. This invention ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... , March 29, 2017 "Surging application of ... by the government are expected to drive the growth ... The gesture recognition market is expected to be worth ... of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. The touchless sensing ... by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 17.44% between ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... , ... ComplianceOnline, the leading governance, risk and compliance advisory network with over ... 2017 venue and speaker lineup. The Summit will take place on June 8 and ... Parker House Hotel, which is located at 60 School Street, Boston, MA will be ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 29, 2017 , ... ... today that it is exhibiting in booth 513 at the Association of Community ... DC Downtown Hotel, March 29-31. , CANCERSCAPE unites key stakeholders from leading ...
Breaking Biology Technology: