Artificially produced hybrids between species and races of Heliconius butterflies

James Mallet

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Database of natural Heliconius hybrids
Comments via email to: mallet's email

During our compilation of the database of natural interspecific hybrids in collections, we have excluded any hybrids certainly or probably produced in captivity.  (We have also excluded any intraspecific hybrids; see also our growing database of laboratory test crosses in Heliconius). There are now a number of butterfly farms and butterfly houses in which multiple species of Heliconius from different regions are kept together at high density, and hybrids can often result in these situations.  In addition, there is now a certain amount of enthusiasm among purchasers of exotic Lepidoptera for varieties and hybrids, and it therefore seems not improbable that some of the commercial market in such rarities will be filled by artificial hybrids.  Caveat emptor!

Publications detailing artificial hybridization between species of Heliconius.

Gilbert,LE (1984): The biology of butterfly communities. Chap. 3. In: The Biology of Butterflies. (Eds: Vane-Wright,RI; Ackery,PR). Symposia of the Royal Entomological Society of London, 11. Academic Press, London, 41-54. Plate IB [H.melpomene, H. pachinus, H.cydno, H.ismenius]
Gilbert,LE (2001): Adaptive novelty through introgression in Heliconius wing patterns: evidence for a shared genetic "tool box" from synthetic hybrid zones and a theory of diversification. In: Ecology and Evolution Taking Flight: Butterflies as Model Systems. (Eds: Boggs,CL; Watt,WB; Ehrlich,PR) University of Chicago Press, Chicago, in press.  [H.melpomene, H.cydno, H.hecale, H.ismenius, H. pachinus]
Jiggins,CD; McMillan,WO (1997): The genetic basis of an adaptive radiation: warning colour in two Heliconius species. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 264, 1167-1175. [H.erato, H.himera].
Naisbit, R.E., Jiggins, C.D., Linares, M., Salazar, C., & Mallet, J. (2002). Hybrid sterility, Haldane's rule, and speciation in Heliconius cydno and H. melpomene.Genetics 161: 1517-1526.
Naisbit, R.E., Jiggins, C.D. & Mallet, J. (2003): Mimicry: developmental genes that contribute to speciation. Evolution and Development 5(3): 269-280. [inheritance of mimicry differences between H. cydno and H. melpomene].

Personal communications about Heliconius hybrids produced in captivity

Luis Miguel Constantino [H.heurippa, H.cydno, H. melpomene, H. charitonia].
Jean-Pierre Vesco [H.melpomene, H.cydno, H.hecale, H.atthis].
Lawrence E. Gilbert [H. melpomene x H. cydno gynandromorph]
Within and between species artificial Heliconius crosses: inheritance and development of colour patterns

James Mallet, Fraser Simpson, Mathieu Joron et al. [H. melpomene, H. erato, H. numata]
Chris Jiggins and [H. melpomene, H. cydno, + H. erato, H. himera]
W. Owen McMillan [H. erato, H. himera]

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Last updated: 12 April 2005