Afternoon sessions

Integrating Pre- and Post-Copulatory Sexual Selection in the Lepidoptera: New Insights and Future Directions

Organized by

Nathan Morehouse, Christer Wiklund and James Walters

Sexual selection is a potent driver of morphological diversity across the tree of life. Research over the past several decades has focused heavily on the evolution of sexually-selected traits, first with an emphasis on traits that mediate pre-copulatory sexual selection, and more recently on traits involved in post-copulatory sexual selection and sexual conflict. Butterflies have begun to feature prominently in this active area of research. Within the past decade, significant advances have been made in our understanding of the traits Lepidoptera use in pre-copula sexual selection and mate choice, including pheromones, color ornamentation and courtship behavior. These studies have also contributed to our understanding of the role of learning and phenotypic plasticity in mate choice patterns, the importance of multi-modal signaling in mate assessment, and how assortative mate preferences may help to drive ecological speciation. Scientists are now beginning to apply next-generation sequencing technologies to understand sexual interactions at the molecular level, particularly those traits involved in post-copulatory sexual selection. These approaches promise to uncover a new frontier of unexplored diversity in traits involved in sexual selection and sexual conflict in the Lepidoptera.

Our special symposium proposal is motivated first by a desire to assemble and showcase new work in this exciting area of lepidopteran research. However, there have been increasing calls from lead sexual selection researchers for a more holistic integration of insights from pre- and post-copulatory episodes of sexual selection. This is because the net effect of sexual selection is dependent on how these two contexts are connected, if at all. Thus, we see a second, but by no means secondary, goal of the proposed symposium to be providing a forum for researchers interested in pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection to discuss how integrative research approaches might connect these two areas of study.

Oral presentations

Only presenting author shown

13:30-14:10 Keynote presentation
Sexual selection, Darwin, and butterflies: Then and now
Ronald Rutowski

Sexual coevolution and Lepidoptera genitalia
Carlos Cordero

Butterfly mate preference learning: Sexually dimorphic learning, learning biases, and multimodal signaling
Erica Westerman

The interplay between different stages of reproduction in Plodia interpunctella
Zenobia Lewis

Coexisting closely related species under the same disguise: insights into species recognition issues between Heliconius hecale and H. ismenius
Bárbara Huber

Testing for cryptic female choice in monarch butterflies
Jacobus de Roode

Proteomic analysis of eupyrene and apyrene sperm in Monarch butterflies
James Walters

Male ejaculates and female reproductive adaptations in the polyandrous butterfly Pieris rapae
Nathan Morehouse

Evolutionary patterns of male sexual characters across Mycalesina butterflies
Oskar Brattström

Sexual conflict and the evolution of novel warning patterns in a Müllerian mimic
Richard Merrill