Are mimics monophyletic? the necessity of phylogenetic hypothesis tests in character evolution

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Abstract

The processes governing the origin and maintenance of mimetic phenotypes can only be understood in a phylogenetic framework. Phylogenetic estimates of evolutionary relationships can provide a context for analyses of character evolution; however, when phylogenetic estimates conflict, rigorous analyses of alternative evolutionary histories are necessary to determine the likelihood of a specific history giving rise to the observed pattern of diversity. The polyphenic butterfly Limenitis arthemis provides a case in point. This species is comprised of three lineages, two of which are mimetic and one of which is non-mimetic. Conflicting estimates of the relationships among these three lineages requires direct evaluation of the alternative hypotheses of mimicry evolution.

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Oliver, J. C., & Prudic, K. L. (2010). Are mimics monophyletic? the necessity of phylogenetic hypothesis tests in character evolution. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-10-239

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