A possible genetic basis for vulnerability in Euphydryas maturna (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)

Katalin Pecsenye, Andrea Tóth, Judit Bereczki, Z. Varga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Nearly all of the known populations of Scarce Fritillary, Euphydryas maturna (Linnaeus, 1758), are declining in Western and Central Europe. In order to identify the possible reasons for its vulnerability we surveyed the population genetics of this butterfly species using multi-locus genotype data. Females of our target species lay lots of eggs in one or two batches only and pre-hibernation caterpillars live and feed gregariously in a nest. As a consequence, a random unfavourable event can eliminate most offspring of a particular female resulting in a strong genetic drift effect combined with inbreeding. Thus, our hypothesis regarding the genetic composition of Scarce Fritillary populations suggests that: (1) there will be random fluctuations in allele frequencies from generation to generation; (2) populations should exhibit small effective sizes and a relatively high level of heterozygote deficiency, and; (3) the majority of the individuals in a population will be composed of the offspring of just a few females. In order to test these hypotheses, fine-scale genetic structure was studied in two subpopulations of a Hungarian Scarce Fritillary population for 4 consecutive years (generations) using enzyme polymorphism data. The results supported all of our assumptions. We detected random fluctuation in the frequency of several alleles, small effective population size and the index of heterozygote deficiency (FIS) indicated a considerable level of inbreeding in most samples. Furthermore, average values of relatedness were also fairly high, and we were able to identify 17 putative sib families in total with the two subpopulations based on estimation of individual gametic phases. Thus, the present study suggests that intrinsic factors (e.g. specific life history) might increase the sensitivity of a species to various threatening factors (e.g. habitat loss or fragmentation) and result in the vulnerability of the given species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalGenetica
Volume145
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Allozyme polymorphism
  • Gametic phase
  • Relatedness
  • Sib families

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Insect Science

Cite this