Molecular and morphological divergence in the butterfly genus Lycaeides (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) in North America: Evidence of recent speciation

  • Nice C
  • Shapiro A
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Male genital morphology, allozyme allele
frequencies and mtDNA sequence variation were
surveyed in the butterfly species Lycaeides inas and
L. melissa from across much of their range in North
America. Despite clear differences in male genital
morphology, wing colour patterns and habitat
characteristics, genetic variation was not
taxonomically or geographically structured and the
species were not identifiable by either genetic data
set. Genetic distances (Nei's D=0.002-0.078,
calculated from allozyme data) between all
populations of both species were within the range
commonly observed for conspecific populations of
other butterflies. The most frequent mtDNA haplotype
was present in individuals of both species in
populations from southern California to
Wisconsin. We conclude that speciation has probably
happened recently and the lack of genetic
differentiation between the species is the product
of either (1) recent or ongoing gene flow at neutral
loci, and/or (2) an insufficiency of time for
lineage sorting. The evolution of male genital
morphology, wing colour patterns and ecological
characteristics has proceeded more rapidly than
allozyme or mtDNA evolution.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Allozymes
  • Biogeography
  • Lycaeides
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Morphology
  • Speciation

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