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Seasonal Polyphenism in Bicyclus Safitza: a Continuous Reaction Norm

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The tropical butterfly Bicyclus safitza has a dry season and a wet season form. In the laboratory different forms (both dry, wet and intermediates) can be induced by different temperatures. The continuous reaction norm in the laboratory is not expressed in the field because of the discrete environment. This plasticity is similar in two Malawian populations. Developmental time and not temperature per se seems to be the factor determining the wing pattern. The amount of a chemical, synthesized or denatured at a constant rate in the larval stage, is hypothesized to determine the phenotype and to serve as a genotype-environment-phenotype-mapping-function (GEPMF). It is argued from an evolutionary viewpoint that development time will be the determination factor for plasticity in other organisms as well.

Affiliations: 1: (Section of Evolutionary Biology, Department of Population Biology, University of Leiden, Schelpenkade 14A, 2313 ZT Leiden, The Netherlands


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