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Title

Recent diversification of Chrysoritis butterflies in the South African Cape (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

AuthorsTalavera, Gerard ; Kaliszewska, Zofia A.; Heath, Alan; Pierce, Naomi E.
KeywordsButterflies
Chrysoritis
Fynbos
Phylogeny
Radiation
Speciation
Taxonomy
Issue DateJul-2020
PublisherElsevier
CitationMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 148: 106817 (2020)
AbstractAlthough best known for its extraordinary radiations of endemic plant species, the South African fynbos is home to a great diversity of phytophagous insects, including butterflies in the genus Chrysoritis (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). These butterflies are remarkably uniform morphologically; nevertheless, they comprise 43 currently accepted species and 68 currently valid taxonomic names. While many species have highly restricted, dot-like distributions, others are widespread. Here, we investigate the phylogenetic and biogeographic history underlying their diversification by analyzing molecular markers from 406 representatives of all described species throughout their respective ranges. We recover monophyletic clades for both C. chrysaor and C. thysbe species-groups, and identify a set of lineages that fall between them. The estimated age of divergence for the genus is 32 Mya, and we document significantly rapid diversification of the thysbe species-group in the Pleistocene (~2 Mya). Using ancestral geographic range reconstruction, we show that West Fynbos is the most likely region of origin for the radiation of the thysbe species-group. The colonization of this region occurred 9 Mya and appears to have been followed by a long period of relative stasis before a recent increase in diversification. Thus, the thysbe radiation does not appear to have resulted from the colonization of new biogeographic areas. Rather, the impact of species interactions (with ants and plants), the appearance of key innovations, and/or the opening of new ecological niche space in the region might explain the sudden burst of speciation that occurred in this group 2 Mya. The biogeographic model suggests two different diversification processes with few historical cross-colonisations, one in eastern South Africa for the C. chrysaor group and the other in western South Africa for the remaining taxa. Distributional range assessments and ecological niche models for each species show important niche overlap, and in a few cases, complete overlap. However, these shared traits are not explained by phylogenetic history. Chrysoritis taxa frequently fly in sympatry and gene tree reticulation appears to be widespread at the species level, suggesting that several episodes of range shifts might have led to secondary sympatries, allowing limited gene flow that challenges species delimitation efforts. In addition, the unusually high diversification rate for the thysbe clade of 1.35 [0.91–1.81] lineages per million years also suggests the possibility of taxonomic oversplitting. The phylogeny presented here provides a framework for a taxonomic revision of the genus. We highlight cases of potential synonymy both in allopatry and sympatry, and stress the importance of dedicated studies to assess potential pre- and post-zygotic barriers giving rise to species delimitations of the thysbe group.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106817
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/218730
DOI10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106817
ISSN1055-7903
Appears in Collections:(IBE) Artículos
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