There are around 1.2 million described species so far across the tree of life. They come in all kinds of shapes, forms and color patterns. Some of these are spread around the globe, while others can only be found on a single island. This incredible biodiversity is what sustains the wide variety of ecosystems found on the planet, including those needed to sustain human life.
In our lab, we are interested in the origin of biodiversity, studying how and why it evolves. We focus our research on the evolution and adaptation of a genus of butterflies called Heliconius, a group of neotropical Lepidoptera that have been studied by evolutionary biologists for over 150 years.
We are a fun and enthusiastic group of field biologists. You will often find us at the lab insectaries feeding caterpillars, in the forest catching butterflies, or at the lab analyzing data.
Cama B, Ehlers S, Szczerbowski D, Thomas-Oates J, Jiggins CD, Schulz S, … & Dasmahapatra KK (2022) Exploitation of an ancestral pheromone biosynthetic pathway contributes to diversification in Heliconius butterflies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 289(1979), 20220474. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2022.0474
Hebberecht L, Melo‐Flórez L, Young FJ, McMillan WO, & Montgomery SH (2022) The evolution of adult pollen feeding did not alter postembryonic growth in Heliconius butterflies. Ecology and Evolution, 12(6), e8999. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.8999
Dell’Aglio DD, Mena S, Mauxion R, McMillan WO, & Montgomery SH (2022) Divergence in Heliconius flight behaviour is associated with local adaptation to different forest structures. Journal of Animal Ecology, 91(4), 727-737. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.13675
Dell’Aglio DD, McMillan WO, & Montgomery SH (2022) Shifting balances in the weighting of sensory modalities are predicted by divergence in brain morphology in incipient species of Heliconius butterflies. Animal Behaviour, 185, 83-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2022.01.003
Hanly JJ, Livraghi L, Heryanto C, McMillan WO, Jiggins CD, Gilbert LE, & Martin A (2022) A large deletion at the cortex locus eliminates butterfly wing patterning. G3, 12(4), jkac021. DOI: 10.1093/g3journal/jkac021
Ogilvie JG, Van Belleghem S, Range R, Papa R, McMillan OW, Chouteau M, & Counterman BA (2021) Balanced polymorphisms and their divergence in a Heliconius butterfly. Ecology and Evolution, 11(24), 18319-18330. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.8423
How do genes allow butterflies to mimic each other’s wing color patterns?
Unrelated species of Heliconius butterflies look almost identical! Does this mean their wing color patterns evolved the same way? Our Postdoc, Carolina Concha, answers this question through her research, providing incredible insights about the genomic basis of evolutionary change.
|Dec 12, 2022||Historical biogeography and macroevolution of neotropical butterflies||Pavel Matos |
(Czech Academy of Sciences, CZ)
|Nov 28, 2022||Chromosome evolution and speciation in Brenthis fritillary butterflies||Alex McKintosh |
(U of Edinburgh, UK)
Lepinars are biweekly seminars by Lepidoptera researchers from different parts of the world: Colombia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Switzerland and USA. We meet via Zoom at 10AM EST zone.