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Another source of biodiversity!

October 24, 2005

Another source of biodiversity!

STRI's postdoctoral fellow Jesús Mavárez, from Venezuela, has developed at least three arguments suggesting that the Heliconius heurippa

There are very few well documented cases, if at all, of animal species with sexual reproduction product of the hybridization between different species.

In collaboration with Mauricio Linares'lab in Uniandes, Colombia, STRI's postdoctoral fellow Jesús Mavárez, from Venezuela, has developed at least three arguments suggesting that the Heliconius heurippa butterfly is a hybrid between Heliconius melpomene and Heliconius cydno.

Seen from the molecular point of view, H. heurippa is a combination of genes of the other two species. On the other hand, the wing coloration pattern of this species can be reconstructed in only three generations of lab crosses between H. melpomene and H. cydno.

Finally, H. heuripa shows the exact intermediate mate selection behavior between the mate selection behavior of the two parental species.

But there's even more: at least two other species in the group, H. pachinus and H. timareta could also be hybrids between H. cydno and H. melpomene !

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