Genus Cynthia Painted Lady Butterfly Wing Posters
Represented by three Cynthia species in this poster, you see the American Painted Lady, the Painted Lady and the West Coast Lady. Cynthia species are quite varied and clearly demonstrate the norm towards ornately detailed ventral wing surfaces versus the simpler and bolder designs (not shown) of the upper dorsal wing surfaces.
Many adaptational and morphological observations can be made from the study of butterfly wing patterns including mimicry, polymorphism, polyphenism, and dimorphism. A couple of mimicry systems are observed in butterfly wing designs. Batesian mimicry is defined by a tasty butterfly resembling a well know distasteful species. In this case, a few butterflies gain the associative protection of mimicking the Monarch butterfly’s orange and black striped pattern. Mullerian mimicry is where a group of distasteful butterfly species have evolved to all look alike thus increasing the chances of recognition that a particular design and coloration scheme represents bad meal.
Polymorphism the genetic code of a single species is capable of a couple of distinctly different looking adults. This characteristic is typically found in tropical butterflies. Polyphenism is defined by genetically identical caterpillars producing pattern variations in the adults due to environmental triggers such as the length of the day (season), temperature, or the relative availability of water. Dimorphism is where genetic differences between males and females result in differing color patterns for each gender.