Ovarian Dynamics in Heliconiine Butterflies: Programmed Senescence versus Eternal Youth

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Science  29 Jul 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4302, pp. 487-490
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4302.487


New oocytes are generated throughout long lives in butterflies of the genus Heliconius, which as adults feed on amino acids from pollen. In Dryas julia, a related heliconiine that feeds only on nectar and is relatively short-lived, the original oocyte supply is eventually depleted. Such divergent ovarian dynamics in closely related organisms are significant in terms of both their evolutionary basis and their physiological controls.