Genetic structures of two closely related butterflies, Ypthima multistriata and Y. argus, inhabiting Japan were compared based on the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) sequences. The former species is classified as a vulnerable species and exhibits a characteristic pattern of voltinism: univoltine and bivoltine populations are distributed in a scattered manner. The latter species is common and has a normal geographical pattern of voltinism: the number of annual generations is correlated with latitude. Our genetic analyses of these two species yielded contrasting results: a spatial analysis of molecular variance (SAMOVA) and FST between each pair of populations revealed a locally fragmented genetic structure for Y. multistriata, compared to three distinct geographic groups of Y. argus within which range-wide gene flow occurs. Although Y. argus is a common species, only the southernmost populations in Japan had higher genetic diversity, while the other populations had the same or lower levels of genetic diversity, compared to Y. multistriata. These results indicate that: 1) the degree of fragmentation of Y. multistriata populations was higher; however, markedly lower genetic diversity was not found, and 2) although Y. argus is a common species, its populations may not be genetically robust. In addition, AMOVA revealed a relationship between voltinism and genetic variation in Y. multistriata. This result suggests a phylogenetic constraint of voltinism in this butterfly.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2