The BoB 2018 conference presentations will be organised into the following symposia. Also see the daily schedule of talks for 11 June, 12 June, 13 June, and 14 June.

Pattern Formation and Evo-devo in Butterflies. Organisers: Antónia Monteiro

Impact of Weather Trends and Extremes on Long-term Population Dynamics. Organisers: Jens Roland and Stephen Matter

Ecological Immunology in Butterflies. Organisers: Anne Duplouy and Marjo Saastamoinen

Colourful Stories: The How’s and the Why’s of Butterfly Structural Colours. Organisers: Anupama Prakash, Seah Kwi Shan

Interacting Butterflies: From Genes to Communities. Organisers: Robert Tropek and Marianne Espeland

Sensory Ecology of Butterflies and Moths. Organisers: Emilie Dion

Evolution and Diversification of Aposematism and Mimicry Systems. Organisers: Krushnamegh Kunte and Johanna Mappes

Notes from the Field: Observations and Hypotheses: Organisers: David Lohman

Foraging Ecology of Butterflies. Organiser: Anuj Jain

Global Citizen Science Monitoring of Butterflies: Building a Globally Engaged Community for Science, Education and Conservation. Organisers: Leslie Ries and Vijay Barve

Diversification, Speciation, and Biogeography in the Tropics. Organisers: Pavel Matos and Nicolas Chazot

Open Symposium. Organisers: Nathan Morehouse and Ramprasad Neethiraj



Butterflies are fantastic subjects for studies of pattern formation due to their varied and colourful wing patterns that develop in a 2D field of cells. An increasing number of tools are also now available to perturb or model pattern formation processes during development. In addition, due to their increasingly well-studied phylogeny, butterflies lend themselves to examinations of how development evolves, or the flip side, how development constrains or biases wing pattern diversity and evolution. This symposium will bring together pioneers and practitioners, and all enthusiasts of butterfly pattern formation and evo-devo.

Plenary: Fred Nijhout: Wing patterns: discoveries and puzzles

Heidi Connahs: Distal-less is involved in eyespot formation via a reaction-diffusion mechanism
Oscar Brattstrom: Mycalesina in morphospace: How developmental bias shape evolutionary diversification in butterflies
Vincent Debat: Exploring the evolution of eyespots in Morphos
Antónia Monteiro: The origin of phenotypic plasticity in eyespot size in response to temperature
Richard Gawne: The Arctiid archetype: a new Lepidopteran groundplan
Michael Perry: Expanding color vision: the developmental basis for the diversification of retinal mosaics in butterflies
Anupama Prakash: apterousA is required for the differentiation of dorsal wing patterns in butterflies
Kenneth Z. McKenna: Lepidoptera wing shape evolves through changes in the relative growth of anterior and posterior compartments
Soumen Mallick: Phenotypic variation in relation to climatic variation in an evergreen tropical rainforest butterfly
Harshad Mayekar: Decoupled reaction norms for two correlated pupal traits in a tropical satyrine butterfly

Organiser: Antónia Monteiro


This Symposium focuses on studies that have made use of long-term population monitoring to identify the impact of weather trends and weather extremes on butterfly population dynamics. The Symposium includes some of the best long-term data sets of butterfly populations which, because of their temporal and/or spatial extent, are able to assess impact of both a wide range of weather variables, and a broad range of their variability; to adequately determine the dominant factors determining dynamics. Speakers will variously consider these impacts with respect to habitat structure, habitat loss, butterfly movement and conservation.

Plenary: Marjo Saastamoinen: Increased synchrony in weather conditions drives increased synchrony in metapopulation dynamics of the Glanville fritillary butterfly in Finland

James Fordyce: Butterflies and climate: regional declines, local responses, and increasing unpredictability
Erica Henry: The effects of precipitation and temperature on population dynamics of both common and endangered butterflies
Jens Roland: Early-winter extreme weather dominates dynamics of alpine Parnassius smintheus butterflies in the Rocky Mountains of Canada
Stephen Matter: Let it snow, let it snow, but not too much: overwintering survival affects population growth of Parnassius smintheus
Robert Srygley: El-niño, host plant growth and migratory butterfly abundance
Michelle Davis: Conservation genetics of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly Euphydryas aurinia in Great Britain
Matthew Nielsen: Misinformation in a new climate: photoperiod-induced seasonal polyphenism under climate change
Timothy Bonebrake: What’s bringing new butterfly species to Hong Kong? More questions than answers from Euripes nyctelius

Organisers: Jens Roland and Stephen Matter


Butterflies face challenges from a wide range of organisms, from pathogenic fungi, viruses, and bacteria, to endo- and ecto-parasitoid wasps. An effective immune system is, hence, crucial. Activation of an immune response is, however, costly, and interactions with pathogens and parasites most likely have great consequences on different aspects of the biology of the butterfly hosts. Such consequences may include modifications in the hosts’ immune strategies, fecundity, behaviours or other life-history traits. This symposium will bring together researchers interested in ecological immunology in butterflies. We will present the latest research on immune reactions, and the fundamental trade-offs between the investment into immune functions and other costly life-history traits in butterflies, using tool-boxes from molecular biology to ecology.

Nora Braak: How does a butterfly embryo cope with immune challenges?
Christopher Wheat: Adaptive changes in immune genes in two butterflies, Pieris napi and Pararge aegeria
Wen-Hao Tan: Signatures of selection on immunity-related genes across Monarch butterfly populations
Juan Galarza: Defensive symbiosis between bacteria and moths
Jacobus de Roode: Effects of plant toxins on monarch butterfly infection, immunity and the gut microbiome
Anne Duplouy: Silk properties and overwinter survival in gregarious larvae of the Glanville fritillary butterfly
Liam Martin Murphy: Immune-development trade-offs in the wood tiger moth Arctia plantaginis
Elena Rosa: A plant pathogen can modulate the effects of secondary metabolites on the performance and immune function of a specialist insect herbivore

Organisers: Anne Duplouy and Marjo Saastamoinen


Butterfly wings are beautifully patterned canvases crafted by individual scales tiling the wing membrane in a mosaic fashion. Each scale is coloured either by the deposition of pigments or intricately carved nanostructures, or an interaction of both. The substrates and enzymes that produce pigments have been well characterized but little is known about the development and molecular machinery that sculpts cellular nanostructures. We are only beginning to understand these processes and this symposium is aimed at documenting our progress in the field of butterfly structural colouration.

Plenary: Bodo Wilts: Photonic properties of brilliant butterfly displays: the role of pigments and disorder

Nicola Nadeau: Heliconius iridescence: natural hybrid zones elucidate the evolution and genetics of structural colour
Yuji Matsuoka: Melanin pathway genes regulate colour and morphology of butterfly wing scales
Rachel Thayer: Genetic basis and evolutionary context for structural color shift in the Buckeye butterfly (Best Student Talk)

Organisers: Anupama Prakash and Seah Kwi Shan


This symposium focuses on various interactions between butterflies and other organisms, including herbivory, pollination, relationships with ants, predation or any other interactions present in their life history. Our aim is to bring together people from different fields of butterfly science (from the level of molecules, through physiology and evolution of individual species, up to influence of butterflies on entire ecosystems) and working in different ways (from molecular approaches, through a single species models, to the community-wide studies). We believe that such inter-field interaction will help us to better understand interactions of butterflies.

Plenary: Naomi Pierce: Ant-butterfly interactions: diversity, ecology and evolution

Niklas Janz: Tempo and mode of butterfly host-driven diversification
Matt Forister: Understanding persistence on a novel host plant in the context of phytochemistry, microbes and arthropod communities
Christopher Wheat: Genetic basis of a female-limited alternative life history insights into the biotic interactions maintaining it within populations
Robert Tropek: Role of butterflies in pollination networks of Mount Cameroon
Ranjit Kumar Sahoo: Host plant abundance explains negative association between larval performance and female preference
Kruttika Phalnikar: Butterfly male killers: Intracellular bacterium induces female biased sex ratio in a butterfly (runner-up, Best Student Talk)
David J. Lohman: A geographic mosaic of Wolbachia infection in Melanitis leda butterfly populations
Deepa Agashe: The missing association between butterflies and their gut bacteria
Marianne Espeland: The impact of mutualistic and parasitic life histories on butterfly diversification in an increasingly arid world

Organisers: Robert Tropek and Marianne Espeland


Insects have evolved a large variety of specialized sensory structures to acquire, process and respond appropriately to their environment. Butterfly and moth visual, gustatory and olfactory systems are fundamental to their survival and reproduction, and an increasing amount of studies also describe how these sensory systems are key elements in the evolution of species. This symposium aims at documenting our progress in the field of Lepidoptera sensory ecology by presenting new research on the type of inputs gathered by butterflies and moths, how they perceive, process the signals, and what role the sensory system plays in the evolution of species.

Emilie Dion: Early-exposure to new sex pheromone blend alters mate preference in female butterflies and in their offspring
Laurence Després: Hybrid speciation and adaptive radiation along an elevational gradient in an alpine butterfly
Yash Sondhi: Hidden UV wing patterns and evolution of visual genes in diurnal and nocturnal Lepidoptera.

Organiser: Emilie Dion


This symposium will include talks on the evolutionary origins, diversification and contemporary selection on aposematism and mimicry. Some of the pertinent topics are: (a) predation and selection, (b) evolutionary assembly of mimicry rings, and (c) diversification, including speciation, sex-limitation and polymorphism within aposematic and mimetic clades, fueled specifically by selection on aposematism and mimicry.

Plenary: Lawrence E. Gilbert: Evolutionary innovations that define and diversify Heliconius

Thomas Sherratt: The evolution of hidden colour signals in moths (and other insect groups)
Mathieu Joron: Is mimicry polymorphism in butterflies maintained by mimicry?
Violaine Llaurens: Evolution of chemical defenses in the genus Heliconius
Marianne Elias: Ecological and evolutionary consequences of mimicry in ithomiine butterflies
Johanna Mappes: Why do all extraordinary cases of mimicry come from the tropics?
Krushnamegh Kunte: Evolutionary assembly of communities in butterfly mimicry rings
Anniina L. K. Mattila: Trade-offs between chemical defense and life-history and fitness traits in a Heliconius butterfly
Erica Westerman: The genetics of assortative mating in Heliconius cydno
Melanie McClure: The role of pharmacophagy in unpalatability, aposematism and courtship of clearwing butterflies
Charline Sophie Pinna: The unexpected evolution of transparency in aposematic Lepidoptera
Dipendra Nath Basu: Evolution of flight morphology in butterfly mimicry rings

Organisers: Krushnamegh Kunte and Johanna Mappes


The premise of this symposium is to bring together the many butterfly biologists who work in the tropics, where they can make a short presentation (5-10 min) about interesting observations they have made during the course of fieldwork that others might find interesting and worthy of further study. One could also give a talk about a study they’ve completed that is rooted in observation, fieldwork, and natural history. One goal of the symposium is to bring together workers from developing countries so they can meet each other.  A secondary goal is for some of the many Palearctic biologists who will be at the meeting to meet some of their tropical colleagues, possibly spurring collaboration.

Plenary: Yu-Feng Hsu: The Agehana swallowtails: their biology, biogeography, and systematics

Martin Wiemers: Discovery of the life history of Papilio demoleus sthenelinus in the Lesser Sunda Islands
Wayne Whaley: Population biogeography of Papilio indra and its larval host plants
Tsuyoshi Takeuchi: Uncertainty about flying conspecifics causes territorial contests of the swallowtail Papilio machaon
Michael Braby: Some remarkable discoveries of butterflies and diurnal moths in the monsoon tropics of northern Australia
Elena Pazhenkova: Butterfly field observations resulted in evolutionary and taxonomic hypotheses
Alexander Monastryskii: Specific features of the butterfly fauna of Vietnam and hypothesized ways of its formation; field surveys 1994-2018
Gerard Talavera: Investigating the worldwide migrations of the Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) through integrative research
Patricio Salazar: Tilapia as a potential standard carrion bait for studies of tropical butterfly communities
Robin Curtis: The potential for lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles to revolutionise butterfly research

Organisers: David Lohman


Feeding and dispersal ecology are critical for butterfly survival, fecundity and longevity. The distribution of larval host and adult feeding resources (nectar/fruit/carrion etc.) fundamentally influence patterns of butterfly oviposition, dispersal, emigration and immigration rates in local populations and are responsible in shaping butterfly metapopulation structures. In this symposium, we will cover a variety of topics on the feeding, herbivory and dispersal ecology of butterflies ranging from biology to conservation applications such as impacts of land use change, and habitat restoration for butterflies.

Timothy Bonebrake: Plant resources and disturbance effects on butterfly communities in urban parks
Anuj Jain: Impacts of land use change on feeding and dispersal ecology in tropical Singapore
Ana Salgado: Host plant preference-performance across life stages in the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia)
Po-An Lin: Switching between resistance and tolerance: impact of drought stress on defense strategies of tomato against caterpillars

Organiser: Anuj Jain


Citizen science has deep roots in human engagement with nature, from natural history observations and collections that go back centuries to organized networks of volunteers collecting and reporting data. Although formal programs started as long as 120 years ago (with the Christmas Bird Counts), there is also a long history of citizens engaged in the science of butterflies. All the way back to the 1930s Fred and Nora Urquhart were engaging hundreds of citizens to track the migration of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) across North America. This gave an early indication of the potential of citizen science to allow researchers to begin answering questions on continental scales. Butterfly monitoring was also an early innovator by showing that citizen scientists can collect science-grade data by following protocols that could produce abundance values that could be compared across space and time. These protocols, developed in the 1970s by Ernie Pollard led to the establishment of the United Kingdom’s Butterfly Monitoring Scheme in 1977 where single volunteers established routes and walked the same routes repeatedly over a season. This was one of the first volunteer-based networks to deliberately collect data across seasons and thus provide detailed information about range and phenology shifts. This program has now been replicated in over 20 countries and 15 states in the United States. With the growing popularity of observation platforms like iNaturalist, we are now gathering a wealth of single observations and checklists that can help us fill in our global data gaps. Increasingly, citizen science programs are expanding globally to countries like South Africa, Australia and China. However, it is critical to engage a more diverse group of global researchers and citizens, especially in tropical zones. Pollard-based methods are often not appropriate in the tropics, so new methodologies are being developed and challenges for community engagement are evolving. This symposium will bring together a global survey of citizen science programs devoted to butterflies, including their challenges and triumphs.  

Plenary: David Roy: What have we learnt from monitoring butterfly populations in the UK?

Leslie Ries: Distributed cyber resources to gather, share and synthesize butterfly monitoring data:  a global community does not need a global platform
Vijay Barve: MothWeek
Doug Taron: Global protocols for butterfly monitoring
Suman Attiwilli: A citizen science butterfly monitoring programme in India: butterfly assemblages in a changing urban landscape
Sanjay Sondhi: Butterflies and Moths of India: inspiring citizen science

Organisers: Leslie Ries and Vijay Barve


Plenary: Niklas Wahlberg: 20 years of molecular systematics: where are we with butterfly phylogeny now?

Niclas Backström: Speciation and genome evolution in cryptic wood-white (Leptidea) butterflies
Keith Willmott: From subtribal classification to cryptic species delimitation: progress in clarifying the systematics of the diverse Euptychiina butterflies (Nymphalidae, Satyrinae)
Michael Braby: Patterns of biodiversity of butterflies and diurnal moths in the monsoon tropics of northern Australia
Mariana Pires Braga: Host repertoire evolution and diversification of butterflies
Pavel Matos: Molecular systematics of Haeterini (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae): disagreements between the multispecies coalescence model (MSC) and taxonomy-based species trees
Erin Campbell: Out of (species) bounds: genome-wide SNPs uncover phylogenetic inconsistencies in the genus Speyeria
Nicolas Chazot: Diversification of Nymphalidae butterflies: assembling the "big picture"
Neil Rosser: The effect of geography on contrasting modes of pre- and postzygotic isolation in Heliconius elevatus and H. pardalinus
Emmanuel Toussaint: Skipper anchored phylogenomics: Progress toward a comprehensive evolutionary tree for an enigmatic family of butterflies
Giovanny Fagua: Host-plant and biogeographical patterns of Choristoneura Lederer (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)
David Lohman: ButterflyNet: An integrative framework for comparative biology
Venkat Talla: Population genetics of cryptic European wood-white butterflies
Kwaku Aduse-Poku: Evaluating the drivers of Afrotropical biodiversity; speciation and dispersal of a Satyrine butterfly group in a Paleoclimatic pendulum
Shuang Xing: Treading the Wallacean shortfall for an endangered, iconic and in-demand tropical butterfly (Teinopalpus aureus)
Samridhi Chaturvedi: Does historical admixture predict patterns of introgression in a contemporary hybrid zone? A comparison of recent and ancient admixture in Lycaeides butterflies
Vlad Eugen Dinca: Using genome-wide representation and Wolbachia screening to understand high intraspecific levels of mitochondrial DNA divergence

Organisers: Pavel Matos and Nicolas Chazot


Nathan Morehouse: Coevolution of male and female reproductive proteins in the Cabbage White butterfly, Pieris rapae
Camille Le Roy: Evolution of morphologies and associated behaviours: how geometric morphometrics and kinematics can spread light on the evolution of Morpho butterflies wings
Vaishali Bhaumik: Female butterflies modulate investment in reproduction and flight in response to migration
Ramprasad Neethiraj: Allele specific expression reveals that the sex chromosome is overrepresented in a local adaptation phenotype
Petr Nguyen: Genome instability in blue butterflies (Lycaenidae)

Organisers: Nathan Morehouse and Ramprasad Neethiraj


Call for symposia proposals (closed in October 2017)

The BoB conferences are usually broken into symposia and other types of themed session. Previous symposia themes have included topics such as symbiosis and co-evolution, host plant evolution, evolution and developmental genetics of butterfly wing patterns, population and community ecology, chemical ecology, biogeography, diversification and speciation, macroevolutinary patterns, and butterfly conservation.

Please submit your symposia proposals for the 2018 conference before the end of September 2017 with the following details: (a) name(s) of the organiser(s), (b) name of the proposed symposium, (c) name(s) and title of the talk of plenary speaker(s), and (d) a list of confirmed invited speakers who have also committed to attend the conference, along with the titles of talks (no more than five invited speakers per symposium. The remaining slots will be assigned from submitted abstracts). Feel free to discuss the proposals with any of the Scientific Committee members and the organisers before you submit a formal proposal. Please email your symposia proposals to the BoB 2018 organisers for pre-screening. These will then be reviewed by the Scientific Committee and finalized by the end of October.

Details and updates about the symposia will be available on this page from November 2017.

Note that the BoB conferences typically do not cover expenses for any attendees, including the keynote speakers. Further information about funding, keynote speakers, and general attendance is given on the Funding page.