• Polyommatus (Lysandra) coridon;
  • P. (L.) caelestissimus;
  • electrophoresis;
  • speciation;
  • evolutionary biology;
  • chromosome numbers;
  • biogeography

Genetic relationships among 15 South West European populations of Polyommatus coridon were evaluated by the electrophoretic study of 16 gene-enzyme systems. Nei's indexes I and D and other statistics demonstrated that two different species are involved, identifiable as Polyommatus coridon (six populations from Southern France and Italy) and Polyommatus caelestissimus (nine populations from Spain), respectively. The Spanish complex is characterized by a different genetic balance, involving much higher degree of interdemic differentiation. It also differs from populations from France and Italy on one alternative locus showing complete fixation. Species-level distinction is independent of haploid chromosome numbers that vary from 87 to 88 in both groups. An evaluation of selective pressures as operated by climatic factors was attempted. The Pleistocene radiation of this group and consequent patterns of the gene flow were reconstructed using spatial autocorrelation analysis.