Species demarcation and genetic flow patterns in butterflies of the sara/sapho clado of the genus Heliconius

Project: Research project


Butterflies of the genus Heliconius are an example of recent radiation with multiple levels of divergence in the presence of genetic flow. Several studies have determined genetic and demographic factors that have promoted their diversification into a geographical mosaic of mimetic patterns. However, there are still groups within radiation that have not been characterized in detail with respect to genetic verification of the described morpho-species, geographic origin of the group, evolutionary processes involved in the formation of species/subspecies and genetic variation associated with their coloring patterns. In this project, by means of a considerable sampling of the genome, it is proposed to begin to respond to each of these points in the so-called sara/sapho clado, which includes butterflies characterized by the gregarious behavior of immature stages and mimetic rings of white/yellow colorations between members of the same clado and with subspecies of the distantly related H. cydno. The recently sequenced genome of H. erato, one of the species that shares a common ancestor with the species to be studied here, will allow us to investigate the genomic evolution of these butterflies using a battery of molecular markers obtained by RADseq. This information, together with that already available from other Heliconius lineages, will help to understand how adaptation and speciation emerges in nature, promoting the generation of biodiversity in the Neotropic.
Effective start/end date3/6/173/2/20