Pigmentation Pattern Formation in Butterfly Wings: Global Patterns on Fore- and Hindwing

  • Toshio Sekimura
  • Anotida Madzvamuse
  • Philip K. Maini
Part of the Modeling and Simulation in Science, Engineering and Technology book series (MSSET)


Pigmentation patterns in butterfly wings are one of the most spectacular and vivid examples of pattern formation in biology. In this chapter, we devote our attention to the mechanisms for generating global patterns. We focus on the relationship between pattern forming mechanisms for the fore- and hindwing patterns. Through mathematical modeling and computational analysis of Papilio dardanus and polytes, our results indicate that the patterns formed on the forewing need not correlate to those of the hindwing in the sense that the formation mechanism is the same for both patterns. The independence of pattern formation mechanisms means that the coordination of united patterns of fore- and hindwings is accidental. This is remarkable, because from Oudemans’s principle [10], patterns appearing on the exposed surface of fore- and hindwing at the natural resting position are often integrated to form a composite and united adaptive pattern with their surrounding environment.


Color pattern formation global patterns butterfly wing Papilio dardanus Papilio polytes reaction-diffusion Gierer–Meinhardt 


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© springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toshio Sekimura
    • 1
  • Anotida Madzvamuse
    • 1
  • Philip K. Maini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological ChemistryCollege of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Chubu UniversityKasugaiJapan

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