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Investigating concordance among genetic data, subspecies circumscriptions and hostplant use in the nymphalid butterfly polygonia faunus
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6379-7905
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2012 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 7, no 7, e41058- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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. We here investigate whether the morphologically well-characterized subspecies in the North American butterfly Polygonia faunus are supported by genetic data from mitochondrial sequences and eight microsatellite loci. We also investigate the phylogeographic structure of P. faunus and test whether similarities in host-plant use among populations are related to genetic similarity. Neither the nuclear nor the mitochondrial data corroborated subspecies groupings. We found three well defined 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. Our results 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 better understand the scope of this phenomenon. The results of this study will be crucial in designing further experiments to understand the evolution of hostplant utilization in this species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 7, no 7, e41058- p.
National Category
Zoology Ecology Evolutionary Biology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81719DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041058ISI: 000306687700039OAI: diva2:563764
Swedish Research Council, 621-2011-5636Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate


Available from: 2012-10-31 Created: 2012-10-30 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

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Kodandaramaiah, UllasaWeingartner, ElisabetJanz, NiklasSlove, JessicaNylin, Sören
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