Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum
Wednesday 19 March 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)
Papilio dardanus is a polymorphic Batesian mimic renowned for copying a large number of toxic Lepidopteran models. Its phenotypic variation is known to be largely determined by a single mimicry switch, but studies on the origin and maintenance of its intricate wing pattern variation have been “hindered at the outset by a complicated nomenclature” (Poulton, 1924; pg. 21). To acquire a comprehensive overview of the phenotypic diversity displayed and to stimulate collaborative research on this enigmatic species, we have digitised, geo-referenced and made publicly available all specimens held by the Museum. I will describe how data-derived distribution maps help us to understand Papilio dardanus’ wing pattern radiation and present genomic data that exposes the engrailed gene as the enigmatic mimicry master switch.
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