Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Validity of the subspecies paradigm - a case study of the nymphalid butterfly Polygonia faunus
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6379-7905
Show others and affiliations
2012 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Subspecies are commonly used taxonomic units to formally describe intraspecific geographic variation in morphological traits. However, the concept of subspecies is not clearly defined, and there is little agreement about what they represent in terms of evolutionary units, and whether they can be used as reliably useful units in conservation, evolutionary theory and taxonomy. Although the validity of subspecies has been tested using a multi-marker genetic approach in vertebrates, such studies have been rare in invertebrates. We here test the validity of well-characterized subspecies in the butterfly Polygonia faunus using a combination of mitochondrial sequences and eight microsatellites. We have also investigated the phylogeographic Structure of P. faunus and test whether similarities in host-plant use among populations is related to genetic similarity. Neither the nuclear nor the mitochondrial dataset corroborated subspecies groupings. We found three welldefined genetic clusters corresponding to California, Arizona and (New Mexico + Colorado). There was little structuring among the remaining populations, probably due to gene flow across populations. We found no support for the hypothesis that similarities in host use are related to genetic proximity. The results indicate that the species underwent a recent rapid expansion, probably from two glacial refugia in western North America. The mitochondrial haplotype network indicates at least two independent expansion phases into eastern North America. Ourresults clearly demonstrate that subspecies in P. faunus do not conform to the structuring of genetic variation. More studies on insects and other invertebrates are needed to understand how widespread this phenomenon is. Results in this study will be crucial in designing further experiments to understand the evolution of host plant utilization in this species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Ecology Evolutionary Biology Zoology Genetics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-71312OAI: diva2:484588
Available from: 2012-01-27 Created: 2012-01-27 Last updated: 2016-07-20
In thesis
1. The plasticity and geography of host use and the diversification of butterflies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The plasticity and geography of host use and the diversification of butterflies
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Our world is changing rapidly and factors like urbanisation, changed agricultural practices and climate change are causing losses in butterfly diversity. It is therefore of importance to understand the source of their diversity. Given the remarkable diversity of herbivorous insects compared to their non-herbivorous sister groups, changes in host use have been implicated as a promoter of speciation. This thesis looks at geographical aspects of host range evolution and the plasticity of host use. We show that butterflies in the subfamily Nymphalinae that feed on a wide range of host plants have larger geographic ranges than species with narrower host ranges. Although tropical butterflies appear to be more specialised than temperate species, this effect is lost when controlling for the differences in geographic range. Geographic variation in host plant use within Polygonia faunus, related to morphologically distinct subspecies, did not show any genetic differentiation. This suggests that the observed variation in host plant use is a plastic response to environmental differences. Reconstructing host use for the Polygonia-Nymphalis and Vanessa group shows that plasticity is also important for understanding host use at the level of butterfly genera. Using unequal transition costs and including larval feeding ability revealed that frequent colonisations of the same plant genus can often be explained by non-independent processes, such as multiple partial losses of host use, recolonisation of ancestral hosts, and parallel colonisations following a preadaptation for host use. These processes are further reflected in the conservative use of host plant orders within the butterfly family Nymphalidae. Few taxa feed on more than one host plant order, and these expansions occur at the very tips of the tree, which we argue is evidence of the transient nature of generalist host use. These insights improve our understanding of how host range evolution may promote diversification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2012. 36 p.
Nymphalidae, host range, phylogeny, distribution, latitude, phylogeography, local specialisation, colonisation, host shift, polyphagy, speciation, diversification
National Category
Research subject
Animal Ecology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69573 (URN)978-91-7447-440-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-03-02, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
At the time of the doctoral defence,the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Submitted; Papers 4 and 5: ManuscriptsAvailable from: 2012-02-08 Created: 2012-01-13 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Kodandaramaiah, UllasaWeingartner, ElisabetJanz, NiklasSlove, Jessica
By organisation
Department of Zoology
In the same journal
EcologyEvolutionary BiologyZoologyGenetics

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

Total: 287 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link