Natural Selection for Miillerian Mimicry in Heliconius erato in Costa Rica

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Science  26 May 1972:
Vol. 176, Issue 4037, pp. 936-939
DOI: 10.1126/science.176.4037.936


The natural color pattern of individuals of the unpalatable and mimetic butterfly Heliconius erato was altered to a unique nonmimetic pattern. When returned to natural populations, the nonmimetic individuals remained for shorter periods of time and received more wing damage indicative of predator attacks than did the controls. The results indicate that Müllerian mimicry was functioning to protect the butterflies from predation.