How common are dot-like distributions? Taxonomical oversplitting in western European Agrodiaetus (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) revealed by chromosomal and molecular markers

Authors

  • ROGER VILA,

    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
    2. Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
    3. Departament de Genètica i Microbiologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Edifici C, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
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    • These authors contributed equally to the research.

  • VLADIMIR A. LUKHTANOV,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Karyosystematics, Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Science, Universitetskaya nab. 1, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia
    2. Department of Entomology, St. Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab. 7/9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia
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    • These authors contributed equally to the research.

  • GERARD TALAVERA,

    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
    2. Departament de Genètica i Microbiologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Edifici C, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
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  • FELIPE GIL-T.,

    1. Apartado postal 3042, E-18080 Granada, Spain
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  • NAOMI E. PIERCE

    1. Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
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E-mail: lukhtanov@mail.ru

Abstract

Approximately 50 taxa of butterflies in Western Europe have been described as new species or elevated to the level of species during the last 40 years. Many, especially those belonging to the genus Agrodiaetus, have unusually localized, ‘dot-like’ distributional ranges. In the present study, we use a combination of chromosomal and molecular markers to re-evaluate the species status of Agrodiaetus distributed west of the 17th meridian. The results obtained do not support the current designations of Agrodiaetus galloi, Agrodiaetus exuberans, and Agrodiaetus agenjoi as endemic species with highly restricted distribution ranges, but indicate that these taxa are more likely to be local populations of a widely distributed species, Agrodiaetus ripartii. Agrodiaetus violetae is shown to be a polytypic species consisting of at least two subspecies, including Agrodiaetus violetae subbaeticuscomb. nov. and Agrodiaetus violetae violetae. Agrodiaetus violetae is genetically (but not chromosomally) distinct from Agrodiaetus fabressei and has a wider distribution in southern Spain than previously believed. Agrodiaetus humedasae from northern Italy is supported as a highly localized species that is distinct from its nearest relatives. We propose a revision of the species lists for Agrodiaetus taking these new data into account. The results reported in the present study are relevant to animal conservation efforts in Europe because of their implications for IUCN Red List priorities. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 130–154.

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