Pattern of genetic differentiation in the Maculinea alcon species group (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) in Central Europe

J. Bereczki, K. Pecsenye, L. Peregovits, Z. Varga

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The taxonomic status of Alcon Blues living in Central and Western Europe (conventionally: Maculinea alcon and Maculinea rebeli) is quite confused. Some authors distinguish them as separate species of the M. alcon species group, while others consider them as subspecies or simply ecological forms. Our aim was to study the pattern of genetic differentiation among several populations of these taxa with reference to their taxonomic position. Imagoes were collected from 27 localities in Central Europe between 1999 and 2003. Samples originated from four regions: northern Hungary, central Hungary, Romania: Transylvania and Slovenia. Enzyme polymorphism was analysed using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. In all samples 16 enzyme loci were studied. In the analysis of the data, F-statistics was computed and the total genetic variation was partitioned into within and between population components. Nei's genetic distances were calculated and UPGMA dendrogram was constructed on the basis of the distance matrix. Hierarchical F-statistics and AMOVA was computed to study the pattern of genetic differentiation among the samples. Principal component analysis (PCA) was also carried out using the allele frequencies of the samples. The results of all analyses indicated a high level of differentiation among the samples. The differences among the samples collected in different years from the same population accounted for a considerable amount of the between sample variation. The distribution of the between sample variation did not exhibit a species pattern. The results of AMOVA and PCA indicated that the geographic pattern was slightly more expressed in the between sample variation compared with the species pattern of it. These results seem to contradict with the conventional taxonomical subdivision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2005



  • Ecological differentiation
  • Enzyme polymorphism
  • Genetic differentation
  • Maculinea alcon
  • Maculinea rebeli

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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