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Reproductive isolation and patterns of genetic differentiation in a cryptic butterfly species complex
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4719-487X
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2013 (English)In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, ISSN 1010-061X, E-ISSN 1420-9101, Vol. 26, no 10, 2095-2106 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Molecular studies of natural populations are often designed to detect and categorize hidden layers of cryptic diversity, and an emerging pattern suggests that cryptic species are more common and more widely distributed than previously thought. However, these studies are often decoupled from ecological and behavioural studies of species divergence. Thus, the mechanisms by which the cryptic diversity is distributed and maintained across large spatial scales are often unknown. In 1988, it was discovered that the common Eurasian Wood White butterfly consisted of two species (Leptidea sinapis and Leptidea reali), and the pair became an emerging model for the study of speciation and chromosomal evolution. In 2011, the existence of a third cryptic species (Leptidea juvernica) was proposed. This unexpected discovery raises questions about the mechanisms preventing gene flow and about the potential existence of additional species hidden in the complex. Here, we compare patterns of genetic divergence across western Eurasia in an extensive data set of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences with behavioural data on inter- and intraspecific reproductive isolation in courtship experiments. We show that three species exist in accordance with both the phylogenetic and biological species concepts and that additional hidden diversity is unlikely to occur in Europe. The Leptidea species are now the best studied cryptic complex of butterflies in Europe and a promising model system for understanding the formation of cryptic species and the roles of local processes, colonization patterns and heterospecific interactions for ecological and evolutionary divergence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 26, no 10, 2095-2106 p.
Keyword [en]
courtship, speciation, female mate choice, genetic structure, Lepidoptera: Leptidea, species concept
National Category
Genetics Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100401DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12211ISI: 000329473100003OAI: diva2:693047


Funding agencies:

K & A Wallenbergs Stiftelse; Stiftelsen Langmanska Kultur-fonden;  Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences;  Swedish Research Council;  Kone Foundation;  Wenner-Gren Foundation;  Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion CGL2010-21226/BOS; Generalitat de Catalunya 2009-0088; Russian Foundation for Basic Research 12-04-00490, 11-04-00076, 11-04-01119; Presidium of Russian Academy of Science  

Available from: 2014-02-03 Created: 2014-02-03 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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Dinca, VladWiklund, ChristerNorén, KarinFriberg, Mange
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