Two Cordulegaster dragonflies present in Italy, the Palaearctic and northern distributed Cordulegaster boltonii and the endemic to the south of the peninsula Cordulegaster trinacriae, meet in central Italy and give rise to individuals of intermediate morphology. By means of mitochondrial and nuclear markers and of Geometric Morphometrics applied to sexual appendages, we defined i) the geographical boundaries between the two species in Italy and ii) we determined the presence, the extent, and the genetic characteristics of the hybridization. Genetic data evidenced asymmetric hybridization with the males of C. trinacriae able to mate both interspecifically and intraspecifically. The results contrast with expectations under neutral gene introgression and sexual selection. This data, along with the morphological evidence of significant differences in size and shape of sexual appendages between the males of the two species, seem indicative of the role of mechanical constraints in intraspecific matings. The origin of the two species is dated about to 1.32 Mya and the hybridization resulted related to range expansion of the two species after Last Glacial Maximum and this led to the secondary contact between the two taxa in central Italy. At last, our results indicate that the range of C. trinacriae, a threatened and protected species, has been moving northward probably driven by climate changes. As a result, the latter species is currently intruding into the range of C. boltonii. The hybrid area is quite extended and the hybrids seem well adapted to the environment. From a conservation point of view, even if C. trinacriae has a strong genetic identity, the discovery of hybridization between the two species should be considered in a future species management.

Asymmetric hybridization in Cordulegaster (Odonata: Cordulegastridae): Secondary postglacial contact and the possible role of mechanical constraints

Senczuk G.;
2018

Abstract

Two Cordulegaster dragonflies present in Italy, the Palaearctic and northern distributed Cordulegaster boltonii and the endemic to the south of the peninsula Cordulegaster trinacriae, meet in central Italy and give rise to individuals of intermediate morphology. By means of mitochondrial and nuclear markers and of Geometric Morphometrics applied to sexual appendages, we defined i) the geographical boundaries between the two species in Italy and ii) we determined the presence, the extent, and the genetic characteristics of the hybridization. Genetic data evidenced asymmetric hybridization with the males of C. trinacriae able to mate both interspecifically and intraspecifically. The results contrast with expectations under neutral gene introgression and sexual selection. This data, along with the morphological evidence of significant differences in size and shape of sexual appendages between the males of the two species, seem indicative of the role of mechanical constraints in intraspecific matings. The origin of the two species is dated about to 1.32 Mya and the hybridization resulted related to range expansion of the two species after Last Glacial Maximum and this led to the secondary contact between the two taxa in central Italy. At last, our results indicate that the range of C. trinacriae, a threatened and protected species, has been moving northward probably driven by climate changes. As a result, the latter species is currently intruding into the range of C. boltonii. The hybrid area is quite extended and the hybrids seem well adapted to the environment. From a conservation point of view, even if C. trinacriae has a strong genetic identity, the discovery of hybridization between the two species should be considered in a future species management.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11695/98679
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