Population genetic structure and evolution of Batesian mimicry in Papilio polytes from the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, analyzed by genotyping-by-sequencing

Yukuto Sato, Kaori Tsurui-Sato, Mitsuho Katoh, Ryosuke Kimura, Haruki Tatsuta, Kazuki Tsuji

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Batesian mimicry is a striking example of Darwinian evolution, in which a mimetic species resembles toxic or unpalatable model species, thereby receiving protection from predators. In some species exhibiting Batesian mimicry, nonmimetic individuals coexist as polymorphism in the same population despite the benefits of mimicry. In a previous study, we proposed that the abundance of mimics is limited by that of the models, leading to polymorphic Batesian mimicry in the swallowtail butterfly, Papilio polytes, on the Ryukyu Islands in Japan. We found that their mimic ratios (MRs), which varied among the Islands, were explained by the model abundance of each habitat, rather than isolation by distance or phylogenetic constraint based on the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis. In the present study, this possibility was reexamined based on hundreds of nuclear single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of 93 P. polytes individuals from five Islands of the Ryukyus. We found that the population genetic and phylogenetic structures of P. polytes largely corresponded to the geographic arrangement of the habitat Islands, and the genetic distances among island populations show significant correlation with the geographic distances, which was not evident by the mtDNA-based analysis. A partial Mantel test controlling for the present SNP-based genetic distances revealed that the MRs of P. polytes were strongly correlated with the model abundance of each island, implying that negative frequency-dependent selection interacting with model species shaped and maintained the mimetic polymorphism. Taken together, our results support the possibility that predation pressure, not isolation by distance or other neutral factors, is a major driving force of evolution of the Batesian mimicry in P. polytes from the Ryukyus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-886
Number of pages15
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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