The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies

Darrell J. Kemp, Ronald L. Rutowski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A major focus of behavioral ecology is to understand the evolutionary causes and consequences of sexual signaling. Great strides have been made, particularly in the realm of color-based signaling, using model organisms in target groups such as birds and fish. Such work has demonstrated how information regarding phenotypic and/or genetic quality may be encoded in various types of color ornaments, which thereby offers an explanation to their adaptive value in mate assessment. However, until recently, attempts to examine such hypotheses have rarely used butterflies as subjects. This is surprising on several fronts. First, butterflies display an exceptional diversity of coloration, which is generated by a large breadth of color-production mechanisms and which provided part of the impetus for Darwin's ideas about sexual selection. Second, butterflies are well suited to behavioral, physiological, morphological, and genetic investigations, and features of their life history make them a novel venue for testing ideas about the potential information value of color signals.In this chapter, we review how studies of butterflies have advanced the field of color signal evolution. Lepidopteran wing coloration has long (and sometimes famously) featured in studies of behavior, genetics, and evolution; our focus here is on efforts to understand the evolutionary ecology of highly exaggerated and male-limited wing markings. Behavioral experiments have revealed female mating preferences for male coloration that transcend simple species and/or mate recognition. These findings have, in turn, promoted butterflies as a system for testing and refining theories of mate-quality signaling, including models based on the signaling of genetic quality. Coupled with this, physicists have seized upon butterflies as a vehicle for understanding natural photonic structures, thereby unearthing an impressive array of color mechanisms (such as three-dimensional crystalline structures) and fuelling the further refinement of signaling hypotheses. We review this progress, showcasing work in the two Coliadine genera Colias and Eurema and focusing on the relevance of this work to our understanding of signaling system evolution.

LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies
EditorsH. Jane Brockmann, Timothy J. Roper, Marc Naguib, John C. Mitani, Leigh W. Simmons
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
PublisherElsevier
Pages55-92
Number of pages38
Volume43
ISBN (Print)9780123808967
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint

Butterflies
mating behavior
butterflies
Color
color
Ecology
Optics and Photonics
Molecular Evolution
Colias
Birds
ecology
Fishes
refining
crystal structure
sexual selection
Lepidoptera
testing
life history
birds

Cite this

Kemp, D. J., & Rutowski, R. L. (2011). The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. In H. J. Brockmann, T. J. Roper, M. Naguib, J. C. Mitani, & L. W. Simmons (Eds.), The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies (Vol. 43, pp. 55-92). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. Advances in the Study of Behavior https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-380896-7.00002-2
Kemp, Darrell J. ; Rutowski, Ronald L. / The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. editor / H. Jane Brockmann ; Timothy J. Roper ; Marc Naguib ; John C. Mitani ; Leigh W. Simmons. Vol. 43 Amsterdam, Netherlands : Elsevier, 2011. pp. 55-92 (Advances in the Study of Behavior).
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Kemp, DJ & Rutowski, RL 2011, The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. in HJ Brockmann, TJ Roper, M Naguib, JC Mitani & LW Simmons (eds), The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. vol. 43, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Advances in the Study of Behavior, pp. 55-92. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-380896-7.00002-2

The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. / Kemp, Darrell J.; Rutowski, Ronald L.

The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. ed. / H. Jane Brockmann; Timothy J. Roper; Marc Naguib; John C. Mitani; Leigh W. Simmons. Vol. 43 Amsterdam, Netherlands : Elsevier, 2011. p. 55-92.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

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Kemp DJ, Rutowski RL. The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. In Brockmann HJ, Roper TJ, Naguib M, Mitani JC, Simmons LW, editors, The Role of Coloration in Mate Choice and Sexual Interactions in Butterflies. Vol. 43. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. 2011. p. 55-92. (Advances in the Study of Behavior). https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-380896-7.00002-2