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Multiple differentiation centres of a non-Mediterranean butterfly species in south-eastern Europe

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Abstract Aim 

The analysis of the phylogeographical structures of many European species reveals the importance of Mediterranean glacial refugia for many thermophilic species, but also underlines the relevance of extra-Mediterranean glacial differentiation centres for a number of temperate species. In this context, phylogeographical analyses of species from south-eastern Europe are highly important for a comprehensive understanding of Europe as a whole. Location 

Romania and Bulgaria. Methods 

We analysed 19 allozyme loci for 615 individuals of the temperate butterfly species Erebia medusa from 28 populations. Results 

These populations had an intermediate genetic diversity, but the Bulgarian populations were significantly more diverse than the ones north of the Danube in Romania. The differentiation among populations was strong, and 52.1% of the genetic variance among populations was distributed between these two countries. The genetic differentiation was considerably stronger in Romania than in Bulgaria, but several sublineages were distinguished within each of these countries. Main conclusions 

The observed genetic structure is so strong that it is most probably the result of glacial differentiation processes in south-eastern Europe and not a post-glacial structure. The strong differentiation into the two groups north and south of the Danube suggests a separating effect by this river valley. The strong differentiation accompanied with genetic impoverishment in Romania suggests the existence of several differentiation centres: at least two small ones on the southern slopes of the southern Carpathians and one in the eastern Carpathian Basin. The considerably weaker differentiation among the Bulgarian samples and their significantly higher genetic diversity imply that gene flow occurred among different regions of Bulgaria during the last ice age.
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Keywords: Allozyme electrophoresis; Bulgaria; Erebia medusa; Nymphalidae; Romania; extra-Mediterranean; genetic diversity; genetic lineages; phylogeography; range expansion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Biology, Str. Clinicilor 5-7, RO-3400 Cluj, Romania 2: Institute of Zoology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd, BG-1000 Sofia, Bulgaria 3: Biogeography, University of Trier, D-54286 Trier, Germany

Publication date: 01 June 2007

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