The colorful visual world of butterflies

Francesca Frentiu

Research output: Contribution to journalShort ReviewOtherpeer-review


Butterflies have long inspired evolutionary biologists with the striking diversity of their wing colors. A more recent surprising finding has been the remarkable diversity of their color vision systems. Butterfly photoreceptors, unlike those of bees and moths, have diversified extensively through processes such as opsin gene duplications, positive selection on single opsin loci, and heterogeneous expression of filtering pigments. Further, lineage-specific opsin duplications and expression of filtering pigments have facilitated the evolution of sexually dimorphic butterfly eyes. Although the molecular basis of visual system diversification is relatively well understood, its ecological and evolutionary significance remains to be elucidated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326 - 333
Number of pages8
JournalEncyclopedia of the Eye
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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