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Research Article
Patterns of Speciation and Adaptive Radiation in Parnassius Butterflies

C. Rebourg, F. Petenian, E. Cosson and E. Faure

Journal of Entomology, 2006, 3(3), 204-215.


The number of species of the genus Parnassius, greatly outnumbers those in other genera of the subfamily Parnassiinae, suggests a unique evolutionary history for the Apollo butterflies. Recent extensive molecular analyses evidenced a relatively rapid radiation of Parnassius but additive studies are required for a more comprehensive understanding of the evolution of this genus. Then, the relationships between Parnassius phylogeny and host-plant preferences have been investigated using molecular phylogenetic analyses. Parnassius molecular phylogeny using a combined data set of four mitochondrial genes is congruent with the larval host-plants phylogeny inferred from chloroplast matK gene. Phylogenetic analyses evidence that Parnassius species have been divided in two groups, the Parnassius subgenus which feed mainly on Crassulaceae and all the other subgenera, containing the most basal species, which feed mainly on Corydalis. However, these co-analyses alone fail to explain all the observed patterns, indeed if host-plant shifts could explain sympatric speciations, other events, including ecological changes (habitat and elevation) have also play an important role. In conclusion, according us, only a combination of sympatric and allopatric speciations due to numerous factors could explain the Parnassius rapid adaptive radiations.

ASCI-ID: 48-76

Cited References Fulltext

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