At least 5 sibling species and an additional 11 cytotypes of the Simulium arcticum complex occur in Montana. Consequently, this speciose complex might allow study of environmental correlates with genetic differentiation. We used conventional methods of collection and cytogenetic analysis to study 1128 male larvae of the Simulium arcticum complex at 15 sites within 5 drainages in western Montana to test the hypothesis that distribution of siblings is associated with elevation. We sampled at the mouth, at the headwaters, and at an intermediate site to span the range of elevations within each drainage. We restricted our analyses to the most abundant taxa of the S. arcticum complex within our study area and observed a statistically significant presence of S. apricarium at low-elevation sites. Simulium arcticum IIL-18 appeared more frequently than expected at high elevation sites. Simulium brevicercum and S. arcticum sensu strictu appeared to be distributed randomly. We suggest potential causal reasons for these distributions including differential use of habitats along these elevational gradients.
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Vol. 67 • No. 1