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We study the evolution of diversity and adaptation, using colour patterns in butterflies as a model. Butterflies have very diverse colour patterns with clear adaptive functions such as camouflage, sexual signalling, thermoregulation, or advertisement to predators. We are now just starting to discover how gene networks underlie pattern formation and its natural variation. This provides the tools towards a better understanding of the evolution of adaptive traits, and their importance from individual physiology to the shaping of entire communities.


Updated 24/03/2017
Photo M. Joron



July 2017: Congratulations to Mathieu Chouteau for his paper in PNAS, showing how H. numata mate disassortatively with respect to mimetic wing pattern. Polymorphism is not maintained by mimicry, really!

April 2017: Congratulations to Claire Mérot for her paper analysing all data on barriers to gene flow in the Heliconius melpomene clade, accepted in Proceedings B!
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Heliconius.org