Polyommatus icarus butterflies in the British Isles: evidence for a bottleneck

De Keyser, Rien; Shreeve, Tim G.; Breuker, Casper J.; Hails, Rosemary S.; Schmitt, Thomas. 2012 Polyommatus icarus butterflies in the British Isles: evidence for a bottleneck. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 107 (1). 123-136.

Full text not available from this repository.


Phylogeographical research has revealed several paradigm patterns of postglacial range expansion from the Mediterranean peninsulas to more northern parts of Europe. These range expansions have consequences for the genetic constitution of populations. Although many studies have been performed in mainland Europe, the colonization history of the British Isles is relatively poorly studied; the genetic consequences of the last glacial readvances and the climate optimum conditions, as well as the implications of the recent climatic conditions on the population genetic structures, are little understood. Therefore, we selected the common blue butterfly Polyommatus icarus as a model species for understanding more generally the colonization patterns of the British Isles and the genetic dynamics on these islands. Allozyme analyses of this butterfly show a rather high genetic diversity over continental Europe without major genetic differentiation. The situation on the British Isles is completely different. Here, populations show a much lower genetic diversity compared to mainland Europe. The genetic constitution is well differentiated from that observed on the European mainland, and the genetic differentiation among populations in Britain is stronger than at the European scale. These results support the hypothesis that a relatively cold-tolerant species such as the common blue could have colonized the British Isles early during the late glacial period and survived the last glacial readvances in small refugia in the South. The retraction of this species in small isolated populations could have caused the genetic impoverishment found. The subsequent forest climax during the climate optimum possibly restricted further expansion of this early succession species to small pockets all over the British Isles, resulting in the genetic patchwork that is still observed. Additionally, the relatively cool and rainy conditions one these islands might have caused bottlenecks, possibly enforcing these genetic patterns.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 1 - Observations, Patterns, and Predictions for Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hails
ISSN: 0024-4066
Additional Keywords: allozyme electrophoresis, biogeography, common blue, postglacial range expansion, phylogeography
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 12 Oct 2012 15:37 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...