Evidence for low-level hybridization between two allochronic populations of the pine processionary moth, Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae)

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Abstract

Divergence between populations sharing the same habitat can be initiated by different reproductive times, leading to allochronic differentiation. A spatially localized allochronic summer population (SP) of the pine processionary moth Thaumetopoea pityocampa, recently discovered in Portugal, occurs in sympatry with the local winter population (WP). We examined the level of genetic differentiation between the two populations and estimated the current gene flow within the spatial framework of their co-occurrence. Mitochondrial data indicated that the two sympatric populations were genetically closer than other WP populations. Conversely, microsatellite genotyping uncovered greater differentiation between the two sympatric populations than between allopatric ones. While male trapping confirmed that reproduction of SP and WP occurred at distinct times, clustering approaches demonstrated the presence of a few LateSP individuals emerging within the WP flight period, although genetically identified as SP. We also identified rare recent hybridization events apparently occurring mainly in the margins of the current SP range. The ongoing gene flow detected between the ancestral and the emerging allochronic populations revealed an incomplete reproductive isolation, which must therefore be taken into account and integrated with studies focussed on ecological drivers, so that a complete understanding of the ongoing speciation process might be achieved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-328
Number of pages17
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume119
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Keywords

  • Allochrony
  • Gene flow
  • Hybrid identification
  • Incipient speciation
  • Sympatry

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