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[Evolution_RU] Seminar on damselfly evolution and mimicry October 25, Rutgers Newark

Dr. Jessica L. Ware jware42 at
Thu Oct 21 08:50:37 EDT 2010

Special Seminar: Monday October 25, 2010
Rutgers Newark, Life Sciences Center room 103
11:30 AM

Title: A novel theory for wing coloration in the Polythore damselflies of

Abstract: The damselfly genus Polythore consists of 20 described species
distributed in the Andean lowlands from Colombia to Bolivia. Striking
morphological differences in wing color exist between species in this
group; however, these species do not noticeably differ in other
morphological traits, even those normally involved in assortative mating. 
While this group is widespread, local diversity tends to be very low, with
only 1-2 wingforms found in any one region.  It has been suggested
anecdotally that the wing color and patterning of some Polythore may offer
protection from predation due to their mimetic resemblance to co-occurring
toxic butterflies. This is a novel suggestion, as wing coloration within
damselflies has previously been explained as a product of sexual
selection.  I will present initial phylogenetic results from work
performed in Peru to address these different theories, which suggest that
wing color may be polymorphic within genetically defined species.  I will
also present results of predation experiments, as well as structural
analysis of the wings of Polythore damselflies, looking at the mechanics
of how wing color is generated.  Through these different lines of research
we hope to understand the selective forces behind the evolution of wing
color within this group, and also what our results suggest more generally
about theories of antipredator defense and sexual selection.

Christopher D. Beatty, Ph.D.
Department of Biology, Santa Clara University

Dr. Jessica L. Ware
Assistant Professor
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Boyden Hall, room 404
195 University Ave, Newark, NJ, 07102
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