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Out-of-Africa origin and dispersal mediated diversification of the butterfly genus Junonia (Nymphalidae: Nymphalinae)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2007 (English)In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, ISSN 1010-061X, Vol. 20, no 6, 2181-2191 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The relative importance of dispersal and vicariance in the diversification of taxa has been much debated. Within butterflies, a few studies published so far have demonstrated vicariant patterns at the global level. We studied the historical biogeography of the genus Junonia (Nymphalidae: Nymphalinae) at the intercontinental level based on a molecular phylogeny. The genus is distributed over all major biogeographical regions of the world except the Palaearctic. We found dispersal to be the dominant process in the diversification of the genus. The genus originated and started diversifying in Africa about 20 Ma and soon after dispersed into Asia possibly through the Arabian Peninsula. From Asia, there were dispersals into Africa and Australasia, all around 5 Ma. The origin of the New World species is ambiguous; the ancestral may have dispersed from Asia via the Beringian Strait or from Africa over the Atlantic, about 3 Ma. We found no evidence for vicariance at the intercontinental scale. We argue that dispersal is as important as vicariance, if not more, in the global diversification of butterflies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 20, no 6, 2181-2191 p.
Keyword [en]
butterfly evolution, DIVA, geo-dispersal, 'Out of Africa', taxon pulses, vicariance
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-19248DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01425.xISI: 000250298300011OAI: diva2:185772
Available from: 2007-10-30 Created: 2007-10-30 Last updated: 2009-09-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The dispersal–vicariance pendulum and butterfly biogeography
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The dispersal–vicariance pendulum and butterfly biogeography
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The relative importance of dispersal and vicariance in speciation is a subject of long standing debate. The earliest historical biogeographers invoked dispersal to explain disjunct distributions. With the advent of phylogenetic systematics and the acceptance of plate-tectonic theory, vicariance gained prominence and dispersalist explanations were increasingly rejected in favour of the former. This led to a new paradigm termed ‘vicariance biogeography’. The quintessence of vicariance biogeography is the consideration of vicariance as the null hypothesis in explanations of disjunct distributions. The notion of vicariance being the predominant force in allopatric speciation started gaining increasing acceptance in the biogeographic community. This also came to be reflected in analytical methods, many of which are biased towards vicariant inferences. However, the recent past has seen this vicariance-dominated view being confronted by a suite of studies demonstrating that dispersal has played a vital role in speciation and is equally important, if not more. In this thesis, I have studied the historical biogeography of nymphalid butterflies (Family Nymphalidae) in the genus Junonia and two subtribes - Coenonymphina and Mycalesina. Junonia is found in all major zoogeographic regions apart from the Palaearctic. Coenonymphina is found in the Holarctic, Neotropical and Australasian regions. Mycalesina is found all over the Old World tropics. The results in the thesis indicate that dispersal has played a crucial role in the diversification of these groups, while there is little evidence for vicariance in any group. I also critique Dispersal-Vicariance analysis, the widely used analytical method in historical biogeography that is based on the principle of parsimony. I use simulated data to highlight various sources of error when using the method, and suggest ways that may help increase the realism of biogeographic inferences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2009. 12 p.
Junonia, Coenonympha, Coenonymphina, Mycalesina, historical biogeography, vicariance, dispersal, DIVA
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29505 (URN)978-91-7155-936-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-10-09, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: In press. Paper 5: In press.Available from: 2009-09-17 Created: 2009-09-02 Last updated: 2009-09-04Bibliographically approved

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