Published on: December 31, 2022

Butterflies Evolution

Butterflies Evolution

Why in news?  Scientists of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bengaluru have discovered secrets of a long evolutionary game


  • The butterflies come to warn, fool, and escape their predators using traits such as wing colour patterns and even flight behaviour.
  • Study has investigated the butterfly mimetic communities of the Western Ghats.
  • Objective of the study: An adaptive phenomenon, and in mimicry, a palatable organism resembles an unpalatable organism to deceive predators.

About their Behaviour

  • Mimicry in butterflies is not limited to the resemblance in wing colour patterns alone, as some mimics also evolved to imitate the flight behaviours of model species.
  • In nature, multiple model and mimic butterflies could be found in the same habitat at the same time.
  • Similar-looking co-occurring butterflies together form a mimetic community

Evolution of trait

  • Findings have shed light on the rate of trait evolution helps butterflies to escape their predators.
  • Study can be carried forward to investigate whether the rate of trait evolution is similar in young communities, such as in the Western Ghats versus large, old communities in Northeast India, Southeast Asia and the neotropics
  • Evolutionary dynamics of functional traits depend heavily on the age, size and complexity of the biological communities.
  • For the first time, evolution of multiple traits was examined in a biological community, especially in a biodiversity hotspot of the Indian subcontinent.