The Glanville fritillary (Melitaea cinxia) study system in the Åland Islands is exceptional in terms of the resources available for research. The ecological study has been continued since 1991, and the annual large-scale survey of the entire metapopulation provides unique long-term ecological data at a landscape level. The butterfly laboratory at the Lammi Biological stationmakes it possible to rear butterflies and host plants in a large scale and conduct experiments throughout the year. Finally, the recently developed genomic resources make genome-wide studies feasible. The primary aim of this project is to find genetic loci associated with life history traits in the Glanville fritillary, with a special focus on larval development and flight metabolic rate. Currently, another line of research compares the well-studied metapopulation in the Åland Islands with a small, completely isolated population on the small island of Pieni Tytärsaari (PT) in the Gulf of Finland. This population has persisted in spite of large genetic load accumulated over the past 100 years.

For more information about the project see the latest annual report of our group.

More information about the Glanville fritillary butterfly genome project.


Principal investigators: Ilkka Hanski, Mikko Frilander
Post docs: Virpi Ahola, Toby Fountain, Jouni Kvist
Post graduate students: Swee Chong Wong
Research assistants: Suvi Ikonen, Toshka Nyman, Laura Häkkinen

Recent publications:

  1. Ahola, V., Koskinen, P., Wong, S.C. et al. (2015). Temperature- and sex-related effects of serine protease alleles on larval development in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 28: 2224–2235
  2. Kvist, J., Mattila, A.L.K., Somervuo P. et al. (2015). Flight-induced changes in gene expression in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Molecular Ecology, 24:4886–4900.
  3. Wong S. W., Oksanen A., Mattila A.L.K., Lehtonen R., Niitepõld K., Hanski I. (2015). Effects of ambient and preceding temperatures and metabolic genes on flight metabolism in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Journal of Insect Physiology, 85:23-31.
Mating Melitaea cinxiaM. cinxia and Bombus mori chromosomesM. cinxia larvae nest