The history of life has been marked by several spectacular radiations, in which many lineages arise over a short period of time. A possible consequence of such rapid splitting in the recent past is that the intrinsic barriers that prevent gene flow between many species may have too little time to develop fully, leading to extensive hybridization among recently evolved lineages. The salamander genus Plethodon in eastern North America has been proposed as a possible example of this scenario, but without explicit statistical tests. In this paper, we present a nearly comprehensive phylogeny for the 45 extant species of eastern Plethodon, based on DNA sequences of mitochondrial (two genes, 1335 base pairs) and nuclear genes (two genes, up to 3481 base pairs). We then use this phylogeny to examine rates and patterns of diversification and hybridization. We find significantly rapid diversification within the glutinosus species group. Examining patterns of natural hybridization in light of the phylogeny shows considerable hybridization within this clade, including introgression between species that are morphologically distinct and distantly related. Reproductive isolation increases over time and may be very weak among the most recently diverged species. These results suggest that the origin of species and the evolution of intrinsic reproductive isolating mechanisms, rather than being synonymous, may be decoupled in some cases (i.e., rapid origin of lineages outstrips the “speciation clock”). In contrast to the conclusions of a recent review of adaptive radiation and hybridization, we suggest that extensive hybridization sometimes may be a consequence, rather than a cause, of rapid diversification.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 60 • No. 12