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Geometric morphometrics reveal male genitalia differences in the Lasiommata megera/paramegaera complex (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae) and the lack of a predicted hybridization area in the Tuscan Archipelago

Auteur : Dapporto (Leonardo)

Année de publication : 2008
Publication : Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Volume : 46
Fascicule : 3
Pagination : 224-230

Résumé :

The recognition of specific demarcation between allopatric populations, as for island endemics, is particularly difficult according to the Biological Concept of Species. However, the recognition of the specific status of island taxa is decisive in evaluating important areas of endemism for conservation purposes. The recent taxonomic inflation of European butterfly species calls into question the validity and objectivity of taxonomic practices, and of databases dependent on them, which are used in biogeography and conservation. In this paper I applied rigorous morphometric analyses instead of visual evaluation to solve the long debated question of whether Lasiommata paramegaera butterfly from Sardinia and Corsica should be considered as a separated entity from the widespread Lasiommata megera. First, I carried out analyses of male genitalia shape comparing the populations from Corsica and Tuscany. Thereafter, I also searched for possible hybridization evidence in the sole area where it is strongly predicted: the Tuscan Archipelago. These islands are located between Tuscany and Corsica and there is large evidence of a continuous immigration of butterflies from these two main sources. I found that Corsican L. paramegaera and Tuscan L. megera can be clearly distinguished on the basis of genitalia shape. Furthermore, the Lasiommata population of each islet clearly maintains the characteristics of one of the two species without evidence of intermediate individuals. In conclusion, I suggest that the two entities should be considered as separate species maintaining their homogeneity by a reduced gene flow across sea, mating avoidance and/or by some depletion of F1 hybrids in developmental or mating success. SN 0947-5745 UT ZOOREC:ZOOR14411066409