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Diverse historical processes shape deep phylogeographical divergence in the pollinating seed parasite Greya politella


Katherine Rich, Fax: 831 4595353; E-mail:


Understanding the historical framework in which species interactions have diversified across landscapes may help to partition the effects of vicariance and geographically variable selection in shaping the geographical mosaic of coevolving species. We used phylogeographical analyses of the pollinating seed parasite Greya politella (Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae) to define the historical processes that may have structured interactions of this species with its host plants across major biogeographical breaks in western North America. Using 648 bp of cytochrome oxidase I and amplified fragment length polymorphisims, we identified deep genetic breaks among some populations consistent with some definitions of cryptic species. A combination of phylogenetic and population genetic approaches indicates that different historical processes may have structured G. politella genetic diversity in four regions: northern Pacific Northwest, southern Oregon, southern Sierra Nevada, and the remainder of California. The northern Pacific Northwest had high genetic diversity likely due to glacial refugia and subsequent spatial expansion, concordant with some other taxa. Populations in southern Oregon possessed unique, closely related haplotypes with restricted gene flow, possibly indicating a long-standing set of populations in this endemic-rich region. Analyses of California populations showed evidence of restricted gene flow and spatial expansion with many closely related haplotypes that occupy a broad geographical range. Southern Sierra Nevada populations were genetically distinct and highly diverse, possibly due to a localized glacial refugium. Together, these results suggest that vicariance and population expansion, possibly in combination with geographically variable selection, have shaped the diversification of G. politella and its interactions with its host plants.

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