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Butterflies That Explore

March 31st, 2011 · No Comments

Butterflies That Explore and Colonize New Habitats Are Genetically Different from Cautious CousinsScienceDaily (Mar. 30, 2011) — A team of scientists has discovered that descendants of “exploratory” butterflies that colonized new habitats differ genetically from their more cautious cousins. The team, led by James Marden, a professor of biology at Penn State University, and Christopher Wheat, a post-doctoral scholar working at both Penn State and the University of Helsinki, has revealed some of the genetic bases for faster egg maturation, a higher rate of energy metabolism, and superior flight ability — traits that provide an advantage to butterflies that stray from familiar territory to found new populations in previously unoccupied habitat patches. The results have potentially broad importance because they show how natural selection may act in species that occupy spatially distinct habitat patches.

Tags: Evolution

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