Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Timing major conflict between mitochondrial and nuclear genes in species relationships of Polygonia butterflies (Nymphalidae: Nymphalini)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4195-8920
Responsible organisation
2009 (English)In: BMC Evolutionary Biology, ISSN 1471-2148, Vol. 92, no 9Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Major conflict between mitochondrial and nuclear genes in estimating species relationships is an increasingly common finding in animals. Usually this is attributed to incomplete lineage sorting, but recently the possibility has been raised that hybridization is important in generating such phylogenetic patterns. Just how widespread ancient and/or recent hybridization is in animals and how it affects estimates of species relationships is still not well-known.


We investigate the species relationships and their evolutionary history over time in the genus Polygonia using DNA sequences from two mitochondrial gene regions (COI and ND1, total 1931 bp) and four nuclear gene regions (EF-1α, wingless, GAPDH and RpS5, total 2948 bp). We found clear, strongly supported conflict between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences in estimating species relationships in the genus Polygonia. Nodes at which there was no conflict tended to have diverged at the same time when analyzed separately, while nodes at which conflict was present diverged at different times. We find that two species create most of the conflict, and attribute the conflict found in Polygonia satyrus to ancient hybridization and conflict found in Polygonia oreas to recent or ongoing hybridization. In both examples, the nuclear gene regions tended to give the phylogenetic relationships of the species supported by morphology and biology.


Studies inferring species-level relationships using molecular data should never be based on a single locus. Here we show that the phylogenetic hypothesis generated using mitochondrial DNA gives a very different interpretation of the evolutionary history of Polygonia species compared to that generated from nuclear DNA. We show that possible cases of hybridization in Polygonia are not limited to sister species, but may be inferred further back in time. Furthermore, we provide more evidence that Haldane's effect might not be as strong a process in preventing hybridization in butterflies as has been previously thought.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 92, no 9
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25438DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-92ISI: 000266660900001OAI: diva2:199719
Available from: 2008-09-18 Created: 2008-09-10 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Phylogenetic perspective on host plant use, colonization and speciation in butterflies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Phylogenetic perspective on host plant use, colonization and speciation in butterflies
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis we have studied speciation in three butterfly genera Polygonia (Nymphalidae, Nymphalini), Pararge (Nymphalidae, Satyrinae) and Celastrina (Lycaenidae: Polyommatinae). In the first paper a dated phylogeny, based on molecular data, of Polygonia was constructed. We found strong conflict between the nDNA and mtDNA datasets. Possibly this can be explained by ancestral and recent hybridizations between contemporary taxa. The results point to the importance in using different markers when we try to resolve evolution of taxa. In the second paper a sister group comparison was made in order to discover whether host plant range has had an effect on species diversity in Polygonia. Our result indicated higher diversification rates in clades which included species with larvae feeding on different, or additional, plants compared to the ”urticalean rosids” specialists. In the third paper our focus was on the colonization abilities in polyphagous butterflies. The haplotype structures of the mtDNA cytochromeoxidase I (COI) within the Nearctic species of Celastrina as well as within P. c-album and P. faunus were analysed in a network. We found little variation in Celastrina and P. c-album. This results imply that the genera have expanded recently and rapidly. There are indications of differentiation in COI in Celastrina and, possibly, host plant use is involved. However, in P. faunus we found structure among the haplotypes. We believe that several different haplotypes of this species have been preserved during glaciations in the Nearctic. In the fourth paper the evolution of the grassfeeding Pararge was analysed. The phylogeny was based on the mtDNA COI and the nDNA wingless (wgl) and times of divergences were calculated. We found a deep divergence between the European and Moroccan populations of P. aegeria which indicates the importance of the Mediterranean as a barrier for gene flow.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Zoologiska institutionen, 2008. 33 p.
Oscillation hypothesis, speciation, Polygonia, Celastrina, Pararge
National Category
Research subject
Animal Ecology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8163 (URN)978-91-7155-705-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-10-10, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 12 A, Stockholm, 13:30
Available from: 2008-09-18 Created: 2008-09-10Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Weingartner, ElisabetNylin, Sören
By organisation
Department of Zoology
In the same journal
BMC Evolutionary Biology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 68 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link