When species meet again – the patterns & processes underlying secondary contact zones of Erebia butterflies
Kay Lucek, University of Basel
Following the last glacial retreat, many closely related species or lineages have expanded their ranges from different glacial refugia. Where they meet again, they may form zones of secondary contact depending on the level of reproductive isolation. However, despite the abundance of such contact zones, the processes that keep species apart and prevent hybridization remain often elusive. Erebia is one of the most species-rich Palearctic butterfly genera and closely related taxa or lineages often form very narrow contact zones. I will present the outcomes of secondary contact in two Erebia species pairs from the Swiss Alps that we studied by combining phenotypic, ecological and genomic data. I will show that in both cases differentiation is likely reinforced by selection but that the processes separating taxa differ between the species pairs. I will also discuss how major chromosomal rearrangements may contribute to reproductive isolation and may promote speciation in Erebia and butterflies in general.
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