Systemic injections of sodium tungstate, a protein-tyrosine phosphatase (PTPase) inhibitor, to pupae immediately after pupation have been shown to efficiently produce characteristic color-pattern modifications on the wings of many species of butterflies. Here we demonstrated that the tungstate-induced modification pattern was entirely different from other chemically-induced ones in a species of nymphalid butterfly Junonia (Precis) orithya. In this species, the systemic injections of tungstate produced characteristic expansion of black area and shrinkage of white area together with the move of parafocal elements toward the wing base. Overall, pattern boundaries became obscure. In contrast, an entirely different modification pattern, overall darkening of wings, was observed by the injections of stress-inducing chemicals, thapsigargin, ionomycin, or geldanamycin, to pupae under the rearing conditions for the adult summer form. On the ventral wings, this darkening was due to an increase of the proportion of peppered dark scales, which was reminiscent of the natural fall form of this species. Under the same rearing conditions, the injections of ecdysteroid, which is a well-known hormone being responsible for the seasonal polyphenism of nymphalid butterflies, yielded overall expansion of orange area especially around eyespots. Taken together, we conclude that the tungstate-induced modifications are clearly distinguishable from those of stress response and ecdysteroid effect. This conclusion then suggests that the putative PTPase signaling pathway that is sensitive to tungstate uniquely contributes to the wing-wide color-pattern development in butterflies.
Junonia (Precis) orithya