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Keywords:

  • Lepidoptera;
  • linkage mapping;
  • mimicry;
  • Nymphalidae

Abstract

The Heliconius butterflies offer exceptional opportunities for the study of the ecology and evolution of mimicry. Despite previous reports of difficulties in the development of microsatellite loci in Lepidoptera, we characterize 15 polymorphic loci in H. erato that show promise for genetic mapping and population studies in this and other species. Levels of variation were high, in both numbers and size ranges of alleles. The loci showed broad amplification success across the genus and in two other genera. All loci that amplified in a population of H. melpomene were polymorphic.