The importance of being different

Brown male of the Cupido lorquinii. Credit: Vlad Dincă

It is often said that you need to stand out in order to succeed, and sometimes being different can be the key to guaranteeing reproduction and offspring … And nope, we are not talking about Tinder profiles, but about butterflies!

In a recent study of the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF), a group of scientists led by Roger Vila have discovered that the males of the Cupido lorquinii species would have changed the blue color of their wings for brown (as seen in the image) to stand out from other blue butterflies and be more easily identifiable by the females of their species.

Thus, as the researchers have shown thanks to genomic studies, the brown butterflies are not a subspecies with a different coloration – as it had been thought-, but an adaptation of Cupido lorquinii butterflies, whose brown males, thanks to standing out from other blue species, would have been selected to have more offspring.

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