• allozyme electrophoresis;
  • climatic oscillations;
  • genetic structure;
  • glacial refugia;
  • global change;
  • global warming;
  • mountain archipelagos;
  • postglacial colonization;
  • species distribution models


Mountain species have evolved important genetic differentiation due to past climatic fluctuations. The genetic uniqueness of many of these lineages is now at risk due to global warming. Here, we analyse allozyme polymorphisms of 1306 individuals (36 populations) of the mountain butterfly Erebia manto and perform Species Distribution Models (SDMs). As a consensus of analyses, we obtained six most likely genetic clusters: (i) Pyrenees with Massif Central; (ii) Vosges; (iii–v) Alps including the Slovakian Carpathians; (vi) southern Carpathians. The Vosges population showed the strongest genetic split from all other populations, being almost as strong as the split between E. manto and its sister species Erebia eriphyle. The distinctiveness of the Pyrenees-Massif Central group and of the southern Carpathians group from all other groups is also quite high. All three groups are assumed to have survived more than one full glacial–interglacial cycle close to their current distributions with up-hill and down-slope shifts conforming climatic conditions. In contrast with these well-differentiated groups, the three groups present in the Alps and the Slovakian Carpathians show a much shallower genetic structure and thus also should be of a more recent origin. As predicted by our SDM projections, rising temperatures will strongly impact the distribution of E. manto. While the populations in the Alps are predicted to shrink, the survival of the three lineages present here should not be at risk. The situation of the three other lineages is quite different. All models predict the extinction of the Vosges lineage in the wake of global warming, and also the southern Carpathians and Pyrenees-Massif Central lineages might be at high risk to disappear. Thus, albeit global warming will therefore be unlikely to threaten E. manto as a species, an important proportion of the species’ intraspecific differentiation and thus uniqueness might be lost.