The evolution of alternative parasitic life histories in large blue butterflies

Thomas D. Als, Roger Vila, Nikolai P. Kandul, David R. Nash, Shen Horn Yen, Yu Feng Hsu, André A. Mignault, Jacobus J. Boomsma, Naomi E. Pierce*


研究成果: 雜誌貢獻期刊論文同行評審

175 引文 斯高帕斯(Scopus)


Large blue (Maculinea) butterflies are highly endangered throughout the Palaearctic region, and have been the focus of intense conservation research. In addition, their extraordinary parasitic lifestyles make them ideal for studies of life history evolution. Early instars consume flower buds of specific host plants, but later instars live in ant nests where they either devour the brood (predators), or are fed mouth-to-mouth by the adult ants (cuckoos). Here we present the phylogeny for the group, which shows that it is a monophyletic clade nested within Phengaris, a rare Oriental genus whose species have similar life histories. Cuckoo species are likely to have evolved from predatory ancestors. As early as five million years ago, two Maculinea clades diverged, leading to the different parasitic strategies seen in the genus today. Contrary to current belief, the two recognized cuckoo species show little genetic divergence and are probably a single ecologically differentiated species. On the other hand, some of the predatory morphospecies exhibit considerable genetic divergence and may contain cryptic species. These findings have important implications for conservation and reintroduction efforts.

頁(從 - 到)386-390
出版狀態已發佈 - 2004 11月 18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 多學科


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