Heliconius cydno subsp. cordula

Brower, Andrew V. Z., 2018, Alternative facts: a reconsideration of putatively natural interspecific hybrid specimens in the genus Heliconius (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), Zootaxa 4499 (1), pp. 1-87: 56-64

publication ID

https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4499.1.1

publication LSID

lsid:zoobank.org:pub:A191D47C-AA66-4A95-8ED1-2B494EFC8F0E

persistent identifier

http://treatment.plazi.org/id/691DE560-8A31-FFA8-7DE6-B9F0FE1F14E2

treatment provided by

Plazi

scientific name

Heliconius cydno subsp. cordula
status

 

Putative H. cydno cordula  x H. melpomene melpomene  hybrids from Venezuela

A series of specimens from Táchira in western Venezuela exhibit what appear to be intermediate H. cydno  x H. melpomene  phenotypes. Apparent hybrids have been collected in this area since at least 1980, so it seems that there is a stable hybrid zone of some sort that has persisted for at least 35 years. Many of the more recent hybrid specimens were genotyped with AFLP markers by Mávarez et al. (2006), who said, "the hybrid individuals cannot be distinguished from other individuals of H. cydno  , indicating that multiple generations of backcrossing must have occurred." This is an odd result—particularly given that even the putative F1 backcross to H. melpomene  (Mávarez Hybrid #34, Fig. 135) has an essentially pure H. cydno  genotype at the AFLP loci. Brower (2011) predicted that these specimens might represent not interspecific H. cydno  x H. melpomene  hybrids, but hybrids between H. cydno cordula  and an unrecognized red-banded member of the H. cydno  clade. In light of the genetic evidence, and given the number of recently-discovered H. cydno  cognates on the east side of the Andes, this hypothesis seems at least as parsimonious as an interspecific cross. Therefore, all of the Táchira specimens (Mávarez Hybrids #28-#34 and Hybrids #87-#96 from the Mallet et al. (2007) database are interpreted as interracial, not interspecific hybrids, and given an identity score of zero. This is clearly an important area for further investigation to fill in our understanding of the distribution and phenotypic variation of the H. cydno  H. heurippa  clade.

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