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Characterization of a hybrid zone between two chromosomal races of the weta Hemideina thoracica following a geologically recent volcanic eruption




Two chromosomal races (2n=17 and 2n=15; XO) of the weta Hemideina thoracica meet at the centre of a volcanic region in North Island, New Zealand. Five independent polymorphic genetic markers showed broadly coinciding, steep frequency clines from north to south across this zone beside the flooded crater, Lake Taupo. Three unlinked nuclear gene markers provide estimates of zone width that are at least twice the width of the chromosomal and mitochondrial clines, with cline centres displaced at least 2.5 km. The different zone widths and centres suggest that this hybrid zone is a semipermeable barrier reducing the introgression of the chromosomal markers more than genic markers. We estimate that this species of weta must have a dispersal rate of at least 100 m per generation using the time since the last Taupo eruption (1850 years ago), which covered an area of about 20 000 km2 with pyroclastic flow.

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