|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [Dutch]|
|Heliconius hecale / Tiger Longwing.|
Heliconius hecale is commonly known as the Tiger Longwing. It is a Heliconiid butterfly that occurs from Mexico to the Peruvian Amazon.
Heliconius comprise a colorful and widespread brush-footed butterfly genus distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the New World. These butterflies utilize Passion flower plants as their larval food source and rely on bright wing color patterns to signal their distasteful to potential predators (aposematism). Heliconius butterflies have been a subject of many studies due to their abundance and relative ease in breeding under laboratory conditions, as well as due to the extensive mimicry that occurs in this group. Studying this model group is helping scientists to understand how species are formed and why they are so diverse. They are usually unpalatable and are models for Müllerian mimicry by unrelated butterflies.
Müllerian mimicry is a natural phenomenon when two or more harmful species, that are not closely related and share one or more common predators, have come to mimic each other's warning signals. It is named after the German naturalist Fritz Müller, who first proposed the concept in 1878.
It can be contrasted with Batesian mimicry, where a harmless organism imitating the protected species is referred to as the mimic and the dangerous one being imitated the model. Müllerian mimicry differs because both parties are harmful; each mimic the other species, while serving as a model at the same time. If one species is encountered far less than the other, the more common species could be treated as the model and the other the mimic. However, if they are encountered in similar numbers they would best be termed comimics or mimic-models. The predator mediating indirect convergence between these two parties is known as the signal receiver or dupe, though the latter term is less relevant here, as they are not actually deceived about the harmful qualities of their prey; both prey provide an honest warning signal. For this reason, some have asserted that it is not a form of mimicry at all, as no deception is involved. Unlike other mimicry systems, the signal receiver is better off for mistaking one harmful species for another, as it avoids the potential harm involved.
However, because comimics may have differing degrees of protection, the distinction between Müllerian and Batesian mimicry is not absolute, and there can be said to be a spectrum between the two forms. Additionally, a species may be a Batesian mimic to one predator and a Müllerian mimic to another. While Batesian and Müllerian mimicry are commonly given examples of mimicry, there is often little or no mention of other forms. There are many other types of mimicry however, some very similar in principle, others far separated. For example in aggressive mimicry a predator might mimic the food of its prey, luring them towards it and improving its foraging success.
Müllerian mimicry need not involve visual mimicry; it may employ any of the senses. For example, many snakes share the same auditory warning signals, forming an auditory Müllerian mimicry ring. More than one common signal may show convergences by the parties. While model and mimic are often closely related species, Müllerian mimicry between very distantly related taxa also occurs.
Hybrid speciation has been found to occur in this genus.
Hybrid speciation is the process wherein hybridization between two different closely related species leads to a distinct phenotype. This phenotype in very rare cases can also be fitter than the parental lineage and as such natural selection may then favor these individuals. Eventually, if reproductive isolation is achieved, it may lead to a separate species. However, reproductive isolation between hybrids and their parents is particularly difficult to achieve and thus hybrid speciation is considered an extremely rare event.
-Heliconius hecale hecale (Fabricius)
-Heliconius hecale anderida Hewitson
-Heliconius hecale barcanti Brown & Yeper
-Heliconius hecale clearei Hall
-Heliconius hecale ennuis Weymer
-Heliconius hecale fornarina Hewitson, 1853
-Heliconius hecale ithaca Felder
-Heliconius hecale jucundus Bates
-Heliconius hecale latus Riffarth
-Heliconius hecale melicerta Bates
-Heliconius hecale nigrofasciatus Weymer
-Heliconius hecale novatus (Bates)
-Heliconius hecale quitalenus (Hewitson, 1853)
-Heliconius hecale radiosus Butler
-Heliconius hecale semiphorus Staudinger
-Heliconius hecale sisyphus Salvin
-Heliconius hecale styx Niepelt
-Heliconius hecale vetustus (Butler)
-Heliconius hecale vittatus Butler
-Heliconius hecale xanthicles Bates
-Heliconius hecale zuleika Hewitson, 1854
Hybridization without change in chromosome number is called homoploid hybrid speciation. It is considered very rare but has been shown in Heliconius butterflies and in sunflowers. Polyploid speciation, which involves changes in chromosome number, is a more common phenomenon, especially in plant species.
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