HYBRID SPECIATION AND INDEPENDENT EVOLUTION IN LINEAGES OF ALPINE BUTTERFLIES

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Abstract

The power of hybridization between species to generate variation and fuel adaptation is poorly understood despite long-standing interest. There is, however, increasing evidence that hybridization often generates biodiversity, including via hybrid speciation. We tested the hypothesis of hybrid speciation in butterflies occupying extreme, high-altitude habitats in four mountain ranges in western North America with an explicit, probabilistic model, and genome-wide DNA sequence data. Using this approach, in concert with ecological experiments and observations and morphological data, we document three lineages of hybrid origin. These lineages have different genome admixture proportions and distinctive trait combinations that suggest unique and independent evolutionary histories.

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