University of Oulu

Hinojosa, JC, Koubínová, D, Dincă, V, et al. Rapid colour shift by reproductive character displacement in Cupido butterflies. Mol Ecol. 2020; 29: 4942– 4955.

Rapid colour shift by reproductive character displacement in Cupido butterflies

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Author: Hinojosa, Joan C.1; Koubínová, Darina2; Dincă, Vlad3;
Organizations: 1Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF), Barcelona, Spain
2Museum of Natural History, Geneva, Switzerland
3Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Departamento de Biología - Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Cambio Global (CIBC-UAM), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
5Universidade da Coruña, GIBE research group, A Coruña, Spain
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 80.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-10-13


Reproductive character displacement occurs when competition for successful breeding imposes a divergent selection on the interacting species, causing a divergence of reproductive traits. Here, we show that a disputed butterfly taxon is actually a case of male wing colour shift, apparently produced by reproductive character displacement. Using double digest restriction‐site associated DNA sequencing and mitochondrial DNA sequencing we studied four butterfly taxa of the subgenus Cupido (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae): Cupido minimus and the taxon carswelli, both characterized by brown males and females, plus C. lorquinii and C. osiris, both with blue males and brown females. Unexpectedly, taxa carswelli and C. lorquinii were close to indistinguishable based on our genomic and mitochondrial data, despite displaying strikingly different male coloration. In addition, we report and analysed a brown male within the C. lorquinii range, which demonstrates that the brown morph occurs at very low frequency in C. lorquinii. Such evidence strongly suggests that carswelli is conspecific with C. lorquinii and represents populations with a fixed male brown colour morph. Considering that these brown populations occur in sympatry with or very close to the blue C. osiris, and that the blue C. lorquinii populations never do, we propose that the taxon carswelli could have lost the blue colour due to reproductive character displacement with C. osiris. Since male colour is important for conspecific recognition during courtship, we hypothesize that the observed colour shift may eventually trigger incipient speciation between blue and brown populations. Male colour seems to be an evolutionarily labile character in the Polyommatinae, and the mechanism described here might be at work in the wide diversification of this subfamily of butterflies.

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Series: Molecular ecology
ISSN: 0962-1083
ISSN-E: 1365-294X
ISSN-L: 0962-1083
Volume: 29
Issue: 24
Pages: 4942 - 4955
DOI: 10.1111/mec.15682
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: Financial support for this research was provided by projects CGL2016‐76322‐P (AEI/ERDF, EU), PID2019‐107078GB‐I00 (AEI/10.13039/501100011033) and 2017‐SGR‐991 (Generalitat de Catalunya) to Roger Vila, by the Academy of Finland to Vlad Dincă (Academy Research Fellow, decision no. 328895) and Marko Mutanen (decision no. 277984), and by predoctoral fellowship BES‐2017‐080641 to Joan Carles Hinojosa.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 328895
Detailed Information: 328895 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
277984 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Dataset Reference: OI sequences were deposited in GenBank and BOLD, and can be consulted accessing the BOLD dataset‐CUPID, with sequence IDs listed in Table S1. Raw ddRADseq reads can be found in the Bioproject PRJNA593535. Alignments of butterfly and Wolbachia ddRADseq loci were uploaded to Dryad (
Copyright information: © 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Hinojosa, JC, Koubínová, D, Dincă, V, et al. Rapid colour shift by reproductive character displacement in Cupido butterflies. Mol Ecol. 2020; 29: 4942– 4955, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.