Hybrid dynamics in a species group of swallowtail butterflies

J. R. Dupuis, F. A.H. Sperling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hybrid zones provide unique natural laboratories for studying mechanisms of evolution. But identification and classification of hybrid individuals (F1, F2, backcross, etc.) can be complicated by real population changes over time as well as by use of different marker types, both of which challenge documentation of hybrid dynamics. Here, we use multiple genetic markers (mitochondrial DNA, microsatellites and genomewide single nucleotide polymorphisms) to re-examine population structure in a hybrid zone between two species of swallowtail butterflies in western Canada, Papilio machaon and P. zelicaon. Our aim was to test whether their hybrid dynamics remain the same as found 30 years ago using morphology and allozymes, and we compared different genetic data sets as well as alternative hybrid identification and classification methods. Overall, we found high differentiation between the two parental species, corroborating previous research from the 1980s. We identified fewer hybrid individuals in the main zone of hybridization in recent years, but this finding depended on the genetic markers considered. Comparison of methods with simulated data sets generated from our data showed that single nucleotide polymorphisms were more powerful than microsatellites for both hybrid identification and classification. Moreover, substantial variation among comparisons underlined the value of multiple markers and methods for documenting evolutionarily dynamic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1932-1951
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2016 European Society For Evolutionary Biology


  • Papilio machaon
  • Papilio zelicaon
  • genotyping by sequencing
  • hybrid identification
  • hybridization
  • microsatellites
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • population structure
  • single nucleotide polymorphism
  • swallowtail butterfly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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