A new subspecies in a Heliconius butterfly adaptive radiation (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)

Carlos F. Arias, Natalia Giraldo, W. Owen McMillan, Gerardo Lamas, Chris D. Jiggins, Camilo Salazar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A fundamental goal in evolutionary biology is to understand how evolutionary patterns and processes shape natural diversity. This, however, requires a complete characterization of the phenotypic and genetic variation between and within species. Here, we used molecular, morphological and behavioural data to describe a new and stable subspecies of Heliconius timareta, named Heliconius timareta linaresi subsp. nov. This race differs phenotypically from other red-coloured H. timareta and instead exhibits a black and yellow wing pattern more similar to Heliconius cydno. However, mtDNA, microsatellite and amplified-fragment length polymorphism data indicate a closer relationship with H. timareta than H. cydno and Heliconius melpomene. Larval morphology and host plant preferences are similar to other H. timareta and H. cydno races. Thus, our combined data indicate that this taxon is a novel subspecies of H. timareta, clearly differentiated from H. cydno and H. melpomene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-818
Number of pages14
JournalZoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), where part of the laboratory work was carried out and funded. C. F. Arias and N. Giraldo were supported by fellowships from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. C. F. Arias was also supported by Convocatoria ‘Es tiempo de volver’ (COLCIENCIAS)-2014, contract No. 656–2014. W. O. McMillan received support from NSF grant (DEB 1257689). C. Salazar was funded by Convocatoria para proyectos de investigación en Ciencias Básicas (COLCIENCIAS)-2014, contract No. FP44842-103– 2015. We are grateful to Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible (Colombia) for collecting permits (ANLA permit number 530–2014).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Linnean Society of London.


  • Adaptive radiation
  • Heliconius timareta
  • Host plant
  • Microsatellites
  • MtDNA
  • Tpi


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