Irrespective of the selective advantage deriving from similar color pattern, the evolution of Batesian (and Mu¨llerian) mimicry between distantly related insects groups has been perhaps facilitated by the availability to both models and mimics of similar pattern units more likely to be expressed, and to be modified in parallel ways, due to shared developmental constraints. We explore this hypothesis in a comparison of units of black-and-yellow color patterns between wasps (Vespidae) and those syrphids (Syrphidae) that are considered to be their Batesian mimics. As a proxy for evolvability we analyzed the cooccurrence of multiple color pattern within species (either as serial homologues or as expression of intraspecific variation) in 203 species of syrphids and 127 species of wasps. In both the wasps and the syrphids, the most frequent black-and-yellow patterns on the abdomen—all shared between the two insect groups—are also the most extensively linked in the networks of intraspecific co-occurrence, but are not the same in the two insect groups: in accordance with our hypothesis, this suggests positively biased evolvability.
Playing with Black and Yellow: the Evolvability of a Batesian Mimicry / Marchini, M; Sommaggio, D; Minelli, A. - In: EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY. - ISSN 0071-3260. - 44:(2017), pp. 100-112. [10.1007/s11692-016-9397-0]