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Phylogenetic perspective on host plant use, colonization and speciation in butterflies

by Weingartner, Elisabet

Abstract (Summary)
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.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Biology; Terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecology; Oscillation hypothesis; speciation; Polygonia; Celastrina; Pararge; Animal Ecology; zoologisk ekologi

ISBN:978-91-7155-705-6

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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