Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/31/2008
Publication Date: 12/1/2008
Citation: Hay-Roe, M.M. 2008. Races of Heliconius erato (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) found on different sides of the Andes show wing size differences. Florida Entomologist. 91:711-712.
Interpretive Summary: The butterfly subfamily Heliconiinae comprises various species that are agricultural pests of passion vine varieties in tropical regions, including Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Scientists at the USDA-ARS-CMAVE in Gainesville, Florida and the University of Florida have noticed that there is a significant variation in body size in the species Heliconius erato, which is distributed from the southern United States to South America. Our research demonstrated that individuals inhabiting the eastern side of the Andes are larger than those on the western side of the Andes. Our discussion focuses on the reasons for such variation and the importance for the evolutionary biology of this species. Genetic differences and the driving forces behind these differences can serve as a model for other pest Lepidoptera.
Technical Abstract: Differences in wing size in geographical races of Heliconius erato distributed over the western and eastern sides of the Andes are reported on here. Individuals from the eastern side of the Andes are statistically larger in size than the ones on the western side of the Andes. A statistical difference was also found between individuals of different races on the western side of the Andes.