On the origins of sexual dimorphism in butterflies

Article (PDF Available)inProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 278(1714):1981-8 · December 2010with33 Reads
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2220 · Source: PubMed
Abstract
The processes governing the evolution of sexual dimorphism provided a foundation for sexual selection theory. Two alternative processes, originally proposed by Darwin and Wallace, differ primarily in the timing of events creating the dimorphism. In the process advocated by Darwin, a novel ornament arises in a single sex, with no temporal separation in the origin and sex-limitation of the novel trait. By contrast, Wallace proposed a process where novel ornaments appear simultaneously in both sexes, but are then converted into sex-limited expression by natural selection acting against showy coloration in one sex. Here, we investigate these alternative modes of sexual dimorphism evolution in a phylogenetic framework and demonstrate that both processes contribute to dimorphic wing patterns in the butterfly genera Bicyclus and Junonia. In some lineages, eyespots and bands arise in a single sex, whereas in other lineages they appear in both sexes but are then lost in one of the sexes. In addition, lineages displaying sexual dimorphism were more likely to become sexually monomorphic than they were to remain dimorphic. This derived monomorphism was either owing to a loss of the ornament ('drab monomorphism') or owing to a gain of the same ornament by the opposite sex ('mutual ornamentation'). Our results demonstrate the necessity of a plurality in theories explaining the evolution of sexual dimorphism within and across taxa. The origins and evolutionary fate of sexual dimorphism are probably influenced by underlying genetic architecture responsible for sex-limited expression and the degree of intralocus sexual conflict. Future comparative and developmental work on sexual dimorphism within and among taxa will provide a better understanding of the biases and constraints governing the evolution of animal sexual dimorphism.

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doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2220
published online 1 December 2010Proc. R. Soc. B
Jeffrey C. Oliver and Antónia Monteiro
On the origins of sexual dimorphism in butterflies
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On the origins of sexual dimorphism
in butterflies
Jeffrey C. Oliver
*
and Anto
´
nia Monteiro
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
The processes governing the evolution of sexual dimorphism provided a foundation for sexual selection
theory. Two alternative processes, originally proposed by Darwin and Wallace, differ primarily in the
timing of events creating the dimorphism. In the process advocated by Darwin, a novel ornament
arises in a single sex, with no temporal separation in the origin and sex-limitation of the novel trait. By
contrast, Wallace proposed a process where novel ornaments appear simultaneously in both sexes, but
are then converted into sex-limited expression by natural selection acting against showy coloration in
one sex. Here, we investigate these alternative modes of sexual dimorphism evolution in a phylogenetic
framework and demonstrate that both processes contribute to dimorphic wing patterns in the butterfly
genera Bicyclus and Junonia. In some lineages, eyespots and bands arise in a single sex, whereas in
other lineages they appear in both sexes but are then lost in one of the sexes. In addition, lineages display-
ing sexual dimorphism were more likely to become sexually monomorphic than they were to remain
dimorphic. This derived monomorphism was either owing to a loss of the ornament (‘drab monomor ph-
ism’) or owing to a gain of the same ornament by the opposite sex (‘mutual ornamentation’). Our results
demonstrate the necessity of a plurality in theories explaining the evolution of sexual dimorphism within
and across taxa. The origins and evolutionary fate of sexual dimorphism are probably influenced by
underlying genetic architecture responsible for sex-limited expression and the degree of intralocus
sexual conflict. Future comparative and developmental work on sexual dimorphism within and among
taxa will provide a better understanding of the biases and constraints governing the evolution of
animal sexual dimor phism.
Keywords: Bicyclus; Junonia; phylogeny; Nymphalidae; stochastic character mapping
1. INTRODUCTION
Animal sexual dimorphism played a large role in the
development of sexual selection theory [13]. The
importance of sexual dimorphism in sexual selection
theory began with an unresolved debate between Charles
Darwin and Alfred Wallace on the timing of sex-limited
inheritance of sexually dimorphic traits. Specifically,
Darwin asserted that a novel trait preferred by the oppo-
site sex would arise simultaneously with sex-limited
inheritance , and that sexual selection maintained and
exaggerated the dimorphism [1]. By contrast, Wallace
hypothesized that traits arose without sex-limited inheri-
tance (i.e. were expressed in both sexes), and natural
selection acted against conspicuous traits in the sex that
suffered greater risk of predation [3]. By Wallace’s reason-
ing, natural selection, not sexual selection, subsequently
produced the dimorphism by ‘converting’ equal inheri-
tance of the trait to sex-limited inheritance [2].
Although sexual selection theory has significantly
matured since the debate between Darwin and Wallace,
both hypotheses remain plausible explanations for the
orig in of sexual dimorphism and deserve re-examination
in a phylogenetic context [4,5].
Primary in discussions of sexual dimorphism are
the ornamentation patterns in butterflies and birds [1,3].
Plumage evolution in birds has received considerable phy-
logenetic treatment, and multiple modes of dimorphism
evolution are evident [6]. In some taxa, dimorphism
evolves by a single sex becoming more conspicuous [7],
while others support the model of Wallace, where both
sexes are ancestrally conspicuous, but one sex, most
often female, becomes less conspicuous [8]. By contrast,
although both Darwin’s and Wallace’s models of sexual
dimorphism evolution are evident in avian taxa, no
study, to our knowledge, has tested the applicability of
each model to sexual dimor phism in butterflies.
To assess the relative support for alternative models of
sexual dimorphism evolution, a comparative approach is
necessary. This approach must account for potentially
independent trait evolution in males and females because
sexual dimorphism may originate in two ways: (i) a trait
may arise in one sex alone, corresponding to Darwin’s
model of simultaneous origin and sex-limited expression
of a trait (single sex gain, SSG) or (ii) a trait arises in
both sexes but is subsequently lost in one sex, as predicted
by Wallace’s model (single sex loss, SSL) [4]. The appli-
cability of these two models, SSG and SSL, can then be
assessed by measuring the frequency of each process in
ancestral state estimates of sexual dimorphism.
Also critical to our understanding of sexual dimorph-
ism are the events following the evolution of dimorphic
characters. Sexually dimorphic characters may follow
one of three fates: stasis, where the linage remains sexu-
ally dimorphic; loss of the dimorphic character, where
the lineage becomes monomorphic and neither sex
* Author for correspondence (jeffrey.oliver@yale.edu).
Electronic supplementary material is available at http://dx.doi.org/
10.1098/rspb.2010.2220 or via http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org.
Proc. R. Soc. B
doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.2220
Published online
Received 13 October 2010
Accepted 11 November 2010
1 This journal is q 2010 The Royal Society
on December 6, 2010rspb.royalsocietypublishing.orgDownloaded from
possesses the conspicuous ornament; or gain of the
dimorphic character by the non-ornamen ted sex, where
the lineage becomes monomorphic and both sexes pos-
sess the conspicuous ornament [5]. In the latter case,
sex-limited expression of a trait is converted to dual-sex
expression; the possibility of such occurrences is a rela-
tively unexplored mechanism for explaining the
evolution of mutual ornamentation.
Here we present a phylogenetic investigation of sexual
dimorphism evolution using the butterfly genera Bicyclus
Kirby (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) and Junonia Hu
¨
bner
(Nymphalidae: Nymphalinae). In Bicyclus, eyespots and
bands present on the dorsal surface of the forewings are
probably under sexual selection [911], and phylogenetic
data for this genus are available [12], making it a model
system to test hypotheses of sexual dimorphism. Alth ough
little is known about the selective pressures on Junonia
dorsal characters (but see [13]), the presence of
sexual dimorphism in some species, coupled with the
available genetic data [14] provide another opportunity
for investigations of sexual dimorphism evolution. We
analysed wing pattern evolution in Bicyclus and Junonia,
focusing on conspicuous dorsal wing characters which
exhibit sexual dimorphism in at least one species
(figure 1). We addressed three questions critical to our
understanding of the evolution of sexual dimorphism:
(i) by what mode does sexual dimorphism arise?
(ii) how often do lineages switch between monomorphism
and dimor phism? and (iii) what is the evolutionary fate of
sexually dimorphic lineages?
2. MATERIAL AND METHODS
(a) Ancestral state estimates of wing characters
We used available genetic data for Bicyclus [12] and Junonia
[14] to generate Bayesian posterior distributions of tree esti-
mates for ancestral state reconstructions. For each of the two
datasets, we performed two Bayesian Markov Chain Monte
Carlo (MCMC) runs of four chains each [15], using a separ-
ate model of evolution for each of the loci. The two Bicyclus
loci each fit a unique HKY þ G þ I model ( partition 1: mito-
chondrial cytochrome oxidase subunits I and II; partition 2:
nuclear elongation factor 1-a;[9]), while the three Junonia
loci were each allowed a unique GTR þ I model (partition
1: mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I; partition 2:
nuclear elongation factor 1-a; partition 3: nuclear wingless).
Trees sampled before likelihood values converged and the
standard deviation of the split frequencies of the two runs
decreased below 0.01 were discarded. For the Bicyclus data,
we ran a total of 20 million MCMC generations, retaining
only trees sampled from the latter 10 million generations.
The two Bayesian runs on the Junonia data converged in
fewer generations, so we only ran 10 million MCMC gener-
ations, sampling trees from the latter 5 million generations.
Bayesian consensus trees were congruent with those of pre-
vious published studies [9,12,14].
We scored dorsal wing characters in Bicyclus and Junonia,
and for ancestral state reconstructions focused on those charac-
ters displaying sexual dimorphism (figure 1;seetheelectronic
supplementary material, table S1). We analysed three dorsal
forewing characters in Bicyclus:theeyespotincellM
1
(also known as the ‘anterior eyespot), the Cu
1
(‘posterior’) eye-
spot, and the sub-apical band. The sub-apical band is a clearly
defined band of colour, usually white or violet, distinct from the
brown wing ground colour in the anterior-distal portion of the
forewing. For Junonia, we analysed two dorsal hindwing char-
acters, the basal aura and the distal shutter. The basal aura is
an elliptical patch of colour, usually blue or purple, located
on or proximal to the discal cell. The distal shutter is character-
ized by blue scaling which extends from the wing margin
inward to at least the discal cell. All characters were scored as
‘present’ or ‘absent’ based on museum specimens housed at
the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology , the Yale P ea-
body Museum or the American Museum of Natural History.
In cases where museum specimens were unav ailable or ambig-
uous in character state, we referred to species diagnoses in
published works [16 18]. For species with sub-specific vari-
ation in character states, we used the character state observed
in the subspecies from which genetic material was obtained.
Digital images of all museum specimens used for character
scoring are available at http://www.lepdata.org/monteir o/
lepdata.html or by request from the authors.
We first performed likelihood ratio tests to determine
whether a one-rate (gains and losses happen at the same
rate) or a two-rate (gains and losses occur at significantly
different rates) model of evolution better fits each character
[19]; a distribution of the test statistic (difference in likeli-
hood scores using a one-rate versus two-rate model) was
generated on a sample of 1000 trees from the post-burn-in
posterior distribution of trees produced in MCMC searches.
A two-rate model was assigned to those characters in which
the critical value (D ln L ¼ 2) fell below the 95 per cent
upper tail of the distribution; when the critical value was
above the lower 95 per cent of the distribution, a one-rate
model was applied (see the electronic supplementary
material, table S3). Using stochastic character mapping
[20] in M
ESQUITE [21], we simultaneously reconstructed
male and female ancestral states of each character on a tree
drawn randomly from the post-burn-in posterior distribution
of trees generated in MCMC searches, using the best-fit
model from likelihood ratio tests for each character. We
repeated the ancestral state estimation for 10 000 post-
burn-in trees to generate a distribution of 10 000 estimates
of ancestral states for each character; M
ESQUITE modules
for generating ancestral state distributions are available in
the AUGIST package for M
ESQUITE [22]. These ancestral
state distributions were used in all subsequent analyses of
sexual dimorphism evolution.
(b) Origins of sexual dimorphism
We assessed the applicability of the two models of sexual
dimorphism origin (SSG and SSL) by compar ing the
sub-apical band
M
1
eyespot
Cu
1
eyespot
(a)
distal shutter
basal aura
(b)
Figure 1. Schematic of dorsal wing characters of (a) Bicyclus
and (b) Junonia included in this study.
2 J. C. Oliver & A. Monteiro Butterfly sexual dimorphism evolution
Proc. R. Soc. B
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number of times each process was responsible for the evol-
ution of sexual dimorphism. For each tree, we counted the
number of dimorphisms originating via SSG and the
number originating via SSL. To evaluate if one process
(SSG versus SSL) occurred more often than the other, we
calculated the difference in the estimated number of SSGs
and SSLs for a given tree drawn from the Bayesian posterior
distribution. We concluded that the two processes occurred
at different rates when zero (equal number of SSGs and
SSLs) fell outside the 95 per cent distribution. This approach
is more conservative than a paired t-test, but provides a rig-
orous assessment of relative importance of each process in
generating sexual dimorphism. An alternative to this
approach would use likelihood ratio tests (or similar para-
metric assessments), but current models do not allow for
simultaneous changes in multiple characters [21,23]; this
condition almost certainly occurs at a non-trivial frequency
within the taxa investigated here.
(c) Relative rate of dimorphism evolution
We estimated the relative likelihood of gains and losses of
sexual dimorphism by comparing the frequency at which
dimorphism evolves from monomorphism and vice versa.
Although there are two qualitatively different ways dimorph-
ism may shift to monomorphism (the dimorphic trait could
be lost, or the dimorphic trait could be gained by the oppo-
site sex), we first consider both types of monomorphism
(both sexes lack the trait or both sexes possess the trait)
together. For each tree sampled from the posterior distri-
bution, we calculated the difference in the number of
origins of sexual dimorphism and origins of monomorphism
(loss of sexual dimorphism). Significant differences in rates
were indicated by frequency distributions in which zero
(equal number of gains and losses of sexual dimorphism)
was in the lower 5 per cent of the observed distribution.
We provide estimated frequencies at which gains and losses
occurred for each character for qualitative comparisons.
(d) Fate of sexual dimorphism
To investigate the evolutionary f ate of sexually dimorphic
lineages, we estimated: (i) the frequency at which sexual
dimorphism was lost, relative to how often lineages remained
sexually dimorphic (stasis); (ii) the relative frequencies at
which the two types of monomorphism (neither sex possesses
the ornament versus both sexes possess the ornament)
arise from sexual dimorphism; and (iii) the frequency that
sex-limited expression of a character was converted to a
dual-sex expression. In these three comparisons, we
restricted our analyses to those trees in which at least one
ancestral node in the tree was estimated to be sexually
dimorphic. That is, we excluded histories in which the fate
of sexually dimorphic characters could not be assessed
owing to the absence of any ancestral (non-contemporary)
sexually dimorphic lineages. This resulted in fewer than
10 000 trees being included in final results; see the electronic
supplementary material, table S4 for a full list of the number
of trees included in specific analyses.
For (i), we calculated the difference in the number of
static lineages and the number of lineages in which sexual
dimorphism shifted to monomorphism. This differs from
the preceding analysis in that we are not considering only
those branches in the tree where a change occurs (e.g.
gains and losses), but rather we are considering all branches
in the tree where an ancestral node was reconstructed as
sexually dimorphic for the character in question, and asses-
sing whether the lineage remained sexually dimorphic (i.e.
no changes along the branch leading to the immediate des-
cendant) or the lineage became sexually monomorphic (i.e.
a loss of sexual dimorphism). Positive values of this differ-
ence indicate that dimorphic lineages were more likely to
convert to monomorphism than remain dimorphic, while
negative values indicate a greater likelihood of stasis, relative
to shifts to monomorphism. We again applied a 95 per cent
cut-off to measure significance: a difference in stasis versus
shifts to monomorphism was only inferred if zero fell
beyond the 95 per cent frequency distribution.
We compared the relative frequencies of the two types of
transitions from dimorphism with monomorphism (ii) by
counting the number of times each occurred in a sampled
history. In those lineages that shift from sexual dimorphism
to sexual monomorphism, two types of monomorphism are
possible: ‘drab monomorphism’ occurs when the ornament
is lost and ‘mutual ornamentation’ occurs when the opposite
sex gains the ornament. To assess if the two types of mono-
morphism evolved from dimorphism at different rates, we
calculated the difference in the number of each transition
type for each sampled tree. We concluded rates were signifi-
cantly different when a difference of zero occurred in fewer
than 5 per cent of the sampled trees.
In addition to comparing the rates of evolution of mutual
ornamentation and drab monomorphism, we measured the fre-
quency of changes from sex-limited expression to dual-sex
expression (iii). We estimated the absolute number of times
mutual ornamentation evolved from sexual dimorphism for
each character, and we tested if this occurred at least once for
each character. We concluded conversion to dual-sex
expression for a character occurred at least once if fewer than
5 per cent of the reconstructions returned estimates of zero con-
versions to monomorphism for that character. In addition to
this conservative assessment of whether this conversion in
expression is possible, we also report the average number of
times such events were estimated to occur for each character.
3. RESULTS
(a) Origins of sexual dimorphism
Both modes of evolution, single-sex gain (figure 2 a,c) and
single-sex loss (fig ure 2b), are responsible for the evol-
ution of sexual dimorphism in the taxa studied here,
although there is a variation between sexes and among
characters in the frequencies of each process (figure 3).
In female Bicyclus and both sexes of Junonia, SSGs were
more common than SSLs, significantly so for the sub-
apical band in Bicyclus (p ¼ 0.001); the band originated
with female-limited expression more often than it was
converted from dual-sex expression to male-limited
expression. The two processes, however, did not occur
at significantly different rates for the M
1
eyespot ( p ¼
0.255) and Cu
1
eyespot (p ¼ 0.125) in Bicyclus females.
The two processes did not occur at significantly different
rates in either Junonia character, although SSGs may
occur at higher rates than SSLs in males (basal aura:
females p ¼ 0.852, males p ¼ 0.069; distal shutter:
females p ¼ 0.534, males p ¼ 0.058). By contrast, SSLs
were more common than SSGs in Bicyclus males, i.e.
dimorphism was owing more often to a loss of the orna-
ment in males, rather than a gain by males alone;
however, no character displayed significant differences
Butterfly sexual dimorphism evolution J. C. Oliver & A. Monteiro 3
Proc. R. Soc. B
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B. analis
B. uniformis
B. hyperanthus
B. procorus
B. sciathis
(a)
female male female male female male
B. alboplagus
B. xeneas
B. xeneoides
B. evadne
(b)
J. cytora
J. touhilimasa
J. artaxia
(c)
Figure 2. Examples of sexual dimorphism evolution in Bicyclus and Junonia.(a) Single sex gain (SSG): the sub-apical band was
gained by females alone in the lineage leading to B. sciathis.(b) Single sex loss (SSL): male expression of the M
1
eyespot was lost
in the lineage leading to B. evadne (white bar). (c) SSG: the distal shutter was gained by males alone in the lineage leading to
Junonia touhilimasa. The grey bar in (b) highlights conversion of female-limited expression of the sub-apical band to dual-sex
expression in the lineage ancestral to B. alboplagus and B. xeneoides.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
(i) (ii) (iii)
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
4 6 8 10 1202
no. dimorphism origins
(a)
frequencyfrequency
4 6 8 10 1202
no. dimorphism origins
4 6 8 1002
no. dimorphism origins
(i) (ii)
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
frequency
frequency
(b)
450123
no. dimor
p
hism ori
g
ins
0123456
no. dimor
p
hism ori
g
ins
Figure 3. Frequency of each mode of sexual dimorphism evolution in (a) Bicyclus and (b) Junonia. The y-axis depicts frequency
in the Bayesian tree distribution of estimated number of origins of sexual dimorphism owing to SSGs (black) and SSLs (white).
Changes that occur in female characters are shown in the top row of graphs, while the bottom row of graphs reflects
changes in male characters. (a) (i) Sub-apical band; (ii) M
1
, eyespot and (iii) Cu
1
, eyespot. (b) (i) Basal aura and (ii) distal
shutter.
4 J. C. Oliver & A. Monteiro Butterfly sexual dimorphism evolution
Proc. R. Soc. B
on December 6, 2010rspb.royalsocietypublishing.orgDownloaded from
in the relative frequencies of each process in males (sub-
apical band, p ¼ 0.614; M
1
eyespot, p ¼ 0.059; Cu
1
eye-
spot, p ¼ 0.053).
(b) Relative rate of dimorphism evolution
On average, shifts from dimorphism to monomorphism
occurred at higher frequencies than shifts from mono-
morphism to dimorphism for all characters and sexes in
both Bicyclus and Junonia (see the electronic supplemen-
tary material, figure S1). Although mean estimates of
losses of sexual dimorphism were consistently higher
than gains, our conservative approach failed to detect
significant differences between gains and losses.
(c) Fate of sexual dimorphism
The majority of dimorphic characters, on average, were
more likely to become monomorphic than remain
dimorphic (figure 4). Three characters displayed signifi-
cant differences between the two processes: Bicyclus
lineages with sub-apical band expression restricted to
males were more likely to become sexually monomorphic
than remain sexually dimorphic (p ¼ 0.005); both
Junonia characters, when only present in females, were
more likely to become sexually monomorphic than
remain sexually dimorphic (basal aura, p ¼ 0.001; distal
shutter, p ¼ 0.001).
Both types of sexual monomorphism (drab mono-
morphism and mutual ornamentation) have evolved
from sexually dimorphic lineages in Bicyclus. The evol-
ution of drab monomorphism occurred at a significantly
higher frequency than the evolution of mutual ornamen-
tation for two Bicyclus characters, the M
1
and Cu
1
eyespots (see the electronic supplementary material,
figure S2a). In sexually dimorphic lineages where females
alone were ornamented with either the M
1
eyespot or the
Cu
1
eyespot, these characters were more likely to be lost
by females (resulting in drab monomorphism) than
gained by males (resulting in mutual ornamentation)
(M
1
: p ¼ 0.007; Cu
1
: p ¼ 0.036). In Junonia , the
evolution of drab monomorphism occurred, on
average, more often than the evolution of mutual orna-
mentation, although we did not detect any significant
differences between the two processes (see the electronic
supplementary material, figure S2b).
The evolution of mutual ornamentation from sexual
dimorphism, via a gain of the dimorphic trait by the
opposite sex, occurred in at least two characters in
Bicyclus, the sub-apical band and the M
1
eyespot (see
the electronic supplementary material, table S2). This
mode of evolution is not only probable but in some
cases necessar y to explain the current patterns of charac-
ter diversity in Bicyclus (see the electronic supplementary
material, table S2). The recipient sex (the unornamented
sex that subsequently gained the character in question)
varied by character: both males and females gained the
sub-apical band from the opposite sex at least once
(males: mean number of gains, g ¼ 3.95, probability of
zero conversions to dual-sex expression, p ¼ 0.030;
females: g ¼ 2.74; p ¼ 0.033), whereas Bicyclus females
gained the M
1
eyespot from sexually dimorphic males at
least once (g ¼ 6.83; p ¼ 0.034). Although the evolution
of mutual ornamentation from sexual dimorphism is
possible in the history of Junonia, we cold not reject the
possibility of zero conversions to dual-sex expression in
any Junonia characters investigated here (see the
electronic supplementary material, table S2).
4. DISCUSSION
Our analyses support both hypotheses advocated by
Darwin [1] and Wallace [3] for the origin of sexual
dimorphism: some sexually dimorphic ornaments arise
concomitantly with sex-limited expression (figure 2a,c),
while others arise in both sexes but are subsequently
lost in one sex (figure 2b). Thus both modes of evolution
are applicable to the evolution of sexual dimorphism in
butterflies. There were notable differences between
sexes, however, in the frequency of each mode of evol-
ution in Bicyclus: SSGs were always more frequent in
females than SSLs, while the opposite, SSLs more fre-
quent than SSGs, was true for males (figure 3a). That
is, when dimorphism arose owing to a change in
female ornamentation, it was most often owing to the
simultaneous origin of the trait and female-li mited
sub-apical
band
basal aura
distal shutter
Bicyclus
Junonia
stasis more
likely
monomorphis
m
more likely
–10
–8
–6
–4
–2
0
2
4
6
8
10
d
(monomorphism—stasis)
Cu
1
eyespotM
1
eyespot
Figure 4. Comparisons between the number of lineages shifting from dimorphism to monomorphism and lineages maintaining
sexual dimorphism (stasis) in (a) Bic yclus and (b) Junonia. Estimated number of differences (
d
) are based on stochastic char-
acter mapping on post-burn-in Bayesian trees. Filled squares represent lineages where females were the ornamented sex, open
squares represent lineages in which males were the ornamented sex. Positive values indicate more occurrences of shifts to
monomorphism than stasis; negative values indicate stasis occurred more often than shifts to monomorphism. Bracketed
values show upper and lower bounds of 95% distribution.
Butterfly sexual dimorphism evolution J. C. Oliver & A. Monteiro 5
Proc. R. Soc. B
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expression of that trait rather than by the temporal separ-
ation of these two processes advocated by Wallace.
However, when dimorphism arose via a change in male
ornaments, it was most often owing to a loss of that orna-
ment in males alone, while females retained the
ornament. This two-step process, the origin of a trait in
both sexes, followed by its subsequent loss in one sex, pre-
sumably owing to the cost of bearing that trait, has
generally been applied to ornaments limited to males,
not females [3].
Our results show notable differences and similarities
with previous phylogenetic analyses of the evolution of
sexual dimorphism. Or igins of sexual dimorphism in
birds are commonly owing to losses of ornamentation or
bright coloration in females, corresponding to the SSL
model of Wallace [3,8,24]. Although two characters had
relatively higher rates of SSLs than SSGs (the M
1
and
Cu
1
eyespots of male Bicyclus ), the majority of our esti-
mates suggest SSGs are more common than SSLs in
explaining the evolution of sexual dimorphism in Bicyclus
and Junonia (figure 3). The simultaneous gain and sex-
limited expression of dimorphic traits is relatively uncom-
mon in birds ([8,24]; but see [7,25] for possible
examples), but it contributes significantly to sexual
dimorphism in the butterflies studied here. In the special
case of female-limited mimicry, the butterfly genus
Papilio demonstrates sexual dimorphism originating as
an amalgamation of the theories of Darwin and Wallace:
female-limited expression evolves with the novel
aposematic wing pattern, as hypothesized by Darwin,
yet the novel phenotype is advantageous owing to natural
selection, not sexual selection, via increased protection
from predators gained by mimicking an unpalatable
model species [26,27]. The diversity of mec hanisms
underlying the evolution of sexual dimorphism
demonstrates the use of both models [1,3] and highlights
the necessity of considering both male and female
trait evolutions separately in the study of sexual
dimorphism [4,24].
In another striking departure from avian systems, the
females of most Bicyclus species are more ornamented
on the dorsal surface than males. There are multiple,
although not mutually exclusive, explanations for this
phenomenon. First, female ornamentation could be
owing to direct selection on females [4]. The high fre-
quency of SSGs relative to SSLs in females (figure 3a)
is predicted under a model where males sele ct mates on
the basis of female dorsal wing patterns. Recent behav-
ioural work on Bicyclus anynana corroborates the
possibility of sexual selection acting on female Bicyclus
dorsal wing patterns [10]. Female ornamentation in Bicy-
clus may also be a byproduct of selection against dorsal
ornaments in males, evidenced by the repeated losses of
the two dorsal forewing eyespots in males (figure 3a,
bottom row). Bicyclus wing evolution fits a signal parti-
tioning model, where or naments presumed to be under
sexual selection are hidden on the concealable, dorsal sur-
faces of the wings [9]. Despite this strategy, it is possible
that during flight the dorsal wing ornaments are still
conspicuous to predators. If male Bicyclus do most of
the mate searching, as observed in B. anynana, then
males could be at greater risk of predation than females,
and conspicuous ornaments in males are selected against
by natural enemies. Dorsal wing patterns may serve
different functions in the two sexes, and thus be subject
to different selective regimes, especially if there are signifi-
cant differences in behaviour or habitat use. The relative
costs and benefits of ornamentation in butterflies should
be further assessed in order to determine the importance
of natural and sexual selection in determining butterfly
coloration across taxa.
An alternative explanation for the variation in dorsal
surface ornamentation between the sexes could involve
differences between the sexes in selection on ventral pat-
terns, coupled with genetic correlations between dorsal
and ventral wing patterns [28,29]. If selection favouring
ventral eyespots is stronger in females than in males,
this could lead to more ornamented female dorsal pat-
terns if correlations between eyespots on different
surfaces are strong enough. However, the ubiquitous
presence of ventral hindwing eyespots in both sexes and
near absence of dorsal hindwing eyespots in the genus
Bicyclus [9
], coupled with selection experiments demon-
strating the potential for developmental indepen dence
among eyespots in B. anynana [30,31], argues against
selection on ventral wing patterns being a major driver
of dorsal pattern evolution.
Differences in the modes of sexual dimorphism evol-
ution between butterflies and birds, e.g., SSGs being
more common in butterflies, whereas SSLs more
common in birds [8,24], may be owing to different
proximate mechanisms used to control sex-limited
expression of traits in insects versus vertebrates. For
instance, in Drosophila the only cells and tissues that
express either the male or the female splice versions of
transcription factors at the end of the sex-determination
pathway (double-sex and/or fruitless) are those involved in
building sexually dimorphic traits, whereas most other
cells in the body are not sex-aware [32]. By contrast,
in birds and other vertebrates, sex-determination tran-
scription factors determine the iden tity of the gonads,
which, in turn, secrete different ratios of male and
female hormones into the bloodstream [33]. Every cell
in the vertebrate body is thus potentially aware of its
sex. How these distinct mechanisms of informing cells
about their male and female identities influence the
likelihood of traits being gained or lost in a sex-specific
way requires additional investigation.
Despite the differences in mode of character evolution
between the sexes, male and female characters showed
similar patterns in the tempo of sexual dimorphism
evolution: losses of sexual dimorphism were, on average,
more common than gains (see the electronic supplemen-
tary material, figure S1). This trend away from sexual
dimorphism was also evident when we measured the rela-
tive occurrence of stasis in sexually dimorphic lineages,
and found that it generally occurs less frequently than a
conversion to sexual monomorphism (figure 4). Shifts
in habitat use (e.g. between open and closed habitats)
have the potential to influence sexual dimorphism evol-
ution [34, 35], and may explain patterns observed in
Bicyclus and Junonia. Both genera have experienced
repeated shifts from dense equatorial forest habitats to
more open habits [12,13,16], a process which may influ-
ence the evolutionary dynamics of sexual dimorphism.
The conversion of sex-limited expression to dual-sex
expression (figure 2b, see the electronic supplementary
material, table S2; [24,36]), illustrates the potential role
6 J. C. Oliver & A. Monteiro Butterfly sexual dimorphism evolution
Proc. R. Soc. B
on December 6, 2010rspb.royalsocietypublishing.orgDownloaded from
of sexual dimorphism in adaptive evolution of phenotypes
shared by both sexes. Novel signals may ar ise as sexually
dimorphic traits and evolve via sexual selection, but sub-
sequently become co-opted for a similar signalling
function in the opposite sex or for alternative functions.
If the selective benefit, either owing to reciprocal sexual
signalling or natural selection, becomes great enough,
dual-sex expression may become favoured over sexual
dimorphism, resulting in the evolution of mutual orna-
mentation [37]. Sexual dimorphism may be a relatively
ephemeral condition, a midpoint crossing an adaptive
valley leading to mutual ornamentation. This transition
could occur in the following series of steps: (i) a novel
trait evolves in both sexes, but is beneficial to one sex
and detrimental to the other, leading to ‘intralocus
sexual conflict’ [37]; (ii) sexual dimorphism in the trait
is favoured (either evolving with the origin of the trait or
arising subsequently by selection against the presence of
the trait in the sex to which it is detrimental); (iii) the
trait becomes beneficial to both sexes, owing to changes
in the trait or changes in the fitness of bearing the trait;
and (iv) mutual ornamentation evolves, either owing to
a loss in sex-specific expression, or a gain of sex-specific
expression in the sex which formerly did not express the
trait. This potential for sexual dimorphism to drive
adaptive evolution requires additional attention to deter-
mine its relative importance in butterfly wing pattern
evolution.
5. CONCLUSION
Considerable attention has been paid to the evolution of
sexual dimorphism, and our results support a pluralistic
view of sexual dimorphism origins [1,3]. The diversity
of processes giving rise to sexual dimorphism in butter-
flies illustrates the complex mechanisms probably
underlying wing pattern evolution. SSGs (figure 2a,c)
may occur via co-option of pre-existing genetic architec-
ture underlying differences in trait expression between
the sexes [38], while SSLs (figure 2b) suggest that
sexual dimorphism may arise to alleviate intralocus
sexual conflict [37]. Pursuing the developmental mechan-
isms underlying sex-limited expression of colour patterns
in butterflies, as well as shifts to mutual ornamentation,
will allow a more detailed mechanistic understanding of
the diversity of evolutionary patterns, and the potential
biases and constraints underlying those processes. Finally,
additional studies of butt erfly sexual dimor phism will
allow comparisons with other taxa, most notably birds,
to assess how different sex-limited gene expression mech-
anisms influence mod es of sexual dimorphism evolution.
We thank Paul Shamble and Aimee Burg for photographing
specimens, and Larry Gall, David Gr imaldi and Tam
Nguyen for assistance in procuring specimens used for
character scoring. Erem Kazancıog˘lu, Suzanne H. Alonzo,
Paul Brakefield, and two anonymous reviewers provided
valuable feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript. This
work was supported by a National Science Foundation
Grant IOS-0818731 to A.M.
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8 J. C. Oliver & A. Monteiro Butterfly sexual dimorphism evolution
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    • "Major strides have been taken toward understanding the genetics and developmental processes involved in eyespot formation in butterflies, particularly through studies on laboratory populations of Bicyclus anynana [6,353637383940. Comparative studies within a phylogenetic framework have shed light on the patterns of evolution of eyespots and furthered our understanding of the evolutionary forces that may have shaped the multitude of eyespots [9,28293031 . Experimental studies have directly demonstrated the wide range of selective forces that are likely to have shaped the myriad eyespots currently found in nature. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many butterflies possess striking structures called eyespots on their wings, and several studies have sought to understand the selective forces that have shaped their evolution. Work over the last decade has shown that a major function of eyespots is their ability to reduce predation by being intimidating to attacking predators. Two competing hypotheses seek to explain the cause of intimidation, one suggesting 'eye-mimicry' and the other their 'conspicuousness' as the reason. There is an on-going debate about which of these better explains the effectiveness of eyespots against predation. We undertook a series of indoor experiments to understand the relative importance of conspicuousness and eye-mimicry, and therefore how predator perception may have influenced the evolution of eyespots. We conducted choice tests where artificial paper models mimicking Junonia almana butterflies were presented to chickens and their preference of attack recorded. We first established that birds avoided models with a pair of eyespots. However, contrary to previous, outdoor experiments, we found that the total area of eyespots did not affect their effectiveness. Non-eye-like, fan shaped patterns derived from eyespots were found to be just as effective as eye-like circular patterns. Furthermore, we did not find a significant effect of symmetry of patterns, again in discordance with previous work. However, across all experiments, models with a pair of patterns, symmetric or asymmetric, eyelike or non-eye-like, suffered from fewer attacks compared with other models. The study highlights the importance of pairedness of eyespots, and supports the hypothesis that two is a biologically significant number that is important in prey-predator signalling. We discuss the implications of our results for the understanding of eyespot evolution.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
    • "In turn, sexual dichromatism, when present, is expressed by different and discrete values of sex-specific characters (e.g. secondary sexual traits), for which the classical approach to the study of their variation has not been ontogenetic, but phylogenetic and based on adult phenotypes (Badyaev & Hill, 2000 Monteiro, 2011; Bell & Zamudio, 2012). Sexually immature individuals exhibit dimorphism in coloration, colour patterns and designs to varying degrees that have been scarcely investigated within populations (Johnsen et al., 2003; Fargallo et al., 2007a Fargallo et al., , 2014), even considering their importance in understanding the evolution of SD under natural selection pressures outside of the sexual context (Vegara & Fargallo, 2008; Vergara et al., 2010; Tringali & Bowman, 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sexual dimorphism (SD) has evolved in response to selection pressures that differ between sexes. Since such pressures change across an individual's life, SD may vary within age classes. Yet, little is known about how selection on early phenotypes may drive the final SD observed in adults. In many dimorphic species, juveniles resemble adult females rather than adult males, meaning that out of the selective pressures established by sexual selection feminised phenotypes may be adaptive. If true, fitness benefits of early female-like phenotypes may constrain the expression of male phenotypes in adulthood. Using the common kestrel Falco tinnunculus as a study model, we evaluated the fitness advantages of expressing more feminised phenotypes at youth. Although more similar to adult females than to adult males, common kestrel fledglings are still sexually dimorphic in size and coloration. Integrating morphological and chromatic variables, we analysed the phenotypic divergence between sexes as a measure of how much each individual looks like the sex to which it belongs (Phenotypic Sexual Resemblance, PSR). We then tested the fitness benefits associated with PSR by means of the probability of recruitment in the population. We found a significant interaction between PSR and sex, showing that in both sexes more feminised phenotypes recruited more into the population than less feminised phenotypes. Moreover, males showed lower PSR than females and a higher proportion of incorrect sex-classifications. These findings suggest that the mechanisms in males devoted to resembling female phenotypes in youth, due to a trend to increase fitness through more feminised phenotypes, may provide a mechanism to constrain the sexual dimorphism in adulthood. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015
    • "Sexual dimorphism in butterfly wing pattern was studied at first time by Scudder [15] who used the word antigeny to explain morphological differences between genders as a byproduct of sexual selection. Oliver & Monteiro [16] stated that sexual dimorphism is probably influenced by underlying genetic architecture responsible for sex-limited expression. Due to availability of material, common species are indicated as models for studies involving phenotypical analysis of populations. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study searched for morphological markers in the wings of Anartia amathea roeselia butterfly. This species can be used as a model species due to its natural abundance in SE Brazil and Neotropics. It is an excellent tool for analysis of phenotypical traits and in studies of population genetics. In this research, wing pattern of both sexes were described and quantified in a sample of 812 butterflies considering sexual dimorphism related to size and colour. The results revealed that approximately 55% of the marker spots on the dorsal surface of wings presented little (< 2.5%) or no variation. Therefore, only ten of 22 spots were used as markers in the analysis, with some spots being sexually dimorphic. The female size was bigger than males as well as other Nymphalidae species. The results showed that the colour wing pattern of A. a. roeselia had enough differences to separate individuals of both sexes and morphological markers that can be used to study the role of natural selection upon populations of this species.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Evolutionary Biology
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