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, 26 (1), 46-55

A Molecular Phylogeny of the Neotropical Butterfly Genus Anartia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)


A Molecular Phylogeny of the Neotropical Butterfly Genus Anartia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)

Michael J Blum et al. Mol Phylogenet Evol.


While Anartia butterflies have served as model organisms for research on the genetics of speciation, no phylogeny has been published to describe interspecific relationships. Here, we present a molecular phylogenetic analysis of Anartia species relationships, using both mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Analyses of both data sets confirm earlier predictions of sister species pairings based primarily on genital morphology. Yet both the mitochondrial and nuclear gene phylogenies demonstrate that Anartia jatrophae is not sister to all other Anartia species, but rather that it is sister to the Anartia fatima-Anartia amathea lineage. Traditional biogeographic explanations for speciation across the genus relied on A. jatrophae being sister to its congeners. These explanations invoked allopatric divergence of sister species pairs and multiple sympatric speciation events to explain why A. jatrophae flies alongside all its congeners. The molecular phylogenies are more consistent with lineage divergence due to vicariance, and range expansion of A. jatrophae to explain its sympatry with congeners. Further interpretations of the tree topologies also suggest how morphological evolution and eco-geographic adaptation may have set species range boundaries.

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