The wings of butterflies are decorated with vivid colour patterns that have been shown to function in species recognition, mate choice, camouflage, warning signalling, and in the deflection of predator attack.
Mimicry and melanism in the Lepidoptera remain favourite textbook examples of the evolution of adaptive traits.
Lepidopteran wings are covered by a fine mosaic of coloured scales that are arranged in a rich variety of patterns. Almost every species has a distinct colour pattern, often showing considerable differences between fore- and hindwings and between the dorsal and ventral wing surfaces. Also, some species are polymorphic, with genetic variants coexisting sympatrically or segregated as geographical races.
Photos: Linden Gledhill
Source: Natural Selection
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Sofia Martinez -Villalpando, BSc