Title

Distribution, Frequency and Mimicry: A Study of Heliconius in Central Ecuador

Presenter

Joe Abbott

Abstract

Heliconius butterflies (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) warn predators of their toxicity through a variety of intricate and colorful warning patterns (aposematism). The original study of these butterflies and their aposematic interactions led Henry Walter Bates to develop his theory of mimicry n 1862. As a part of the study abroad program SIT Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation, I conducted a study of this genus in the Río Zuñag valley in central Ecuador. The primary goals of my study were to obtain an inventory of Heliconius species present in this region, to analyze the distribution and frequencies of these species, and to observe mimicry complexes. In total, 53 individuals across five species of Heliconius were recorded. Furthermore, I identified two mimicry complexes in the Río Zuñag valley. This study provides a comprehensive basis for further investigations involving this genus in Ecuador, primarily in regards to mimicry.

Faculty Sponsor

Susanne Altermann

Sponsor Department/Programs

Biology

Tracks

Animal Kingdom

Location

Science 100

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Research Funding Source or OCS Program

SIT Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation

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Apr 19th, 11:00 AM Apr 19th, 11:15 AM

Distribution, Frequency and Mimicry: A Study of Heliconius in Central Ecuador

Science 100

Heliconius butterflies (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) warn predators of their toxicity through a variety of intricate and colorful warning patterns (aposematism). The original study of these butterflies and their aposematic interactions led Henry Walter Bates to develop his theory of mimicry n 1862. As a part of the study abroad program SIT Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation, I conducted a study of this genus in the Río Zuñag valley in central Ecuador. The primary goals of my study were to obtain an inventory of Heliconius species present in this region, to analyze the distribution and frequencies of these species, and to observe mimicry complexes. In total, 53 individuals across five species of Heliconius were recorded. Furthermore, I identified two mimicry complexes in the Río Zuñag valley. This study provides a comprehensive basis for further investigations involving this genus in Ecuador, primarily in regards to mimicry.