Madagascar is home to numerous endemic species and lineages, but the processes that have contributed to its endangered diversity are still poorly understood. Evidence is accumulating to demonstrate the importance of Tertiary dispersal across varying distances of oceanic barriers, supplementing vicariance relationships dating back to the Cretaceous, but these hypotheses remain tentative in the absence of well-supported phylogenies. In the Papilio demoleus group of swallowtail butterflies, three of the five recognized species are restricted to Madagascar, whereas the remaining two species range across the Afrotropical zone and southern Asia plus Australia. We reconstructed phylogenetic relationships for all species in the P. demoleus group, as well as 11 outgroup Papilio species, using 60 morphological characters and about 4 kb of nucleotide sequences from two mitochondrial (cytochrome oxidase I and II) and two nuclear (wg and EF-1α) genes. Of the three endemic Malagasy species, the two that are formally listed as endangered or at risk represented the most basal divergences in the group, while the more common third endemic was clearly related to African P. demodocus. The fifth species, P. demoleus, showed little differentiation across southern Asia, but showed divergence from its subspecies sthenelus in Australia. Dispersal-vicariance analysis using cladograms derived from morphology and three independent genes indicated a Malagasy diversification of lime swallowtails in the middle Miocene. Thus, diversification processes on the island of Madagascar may have contributed to the origin of common butterflies that now occur throughout much of the Old World tropical and subtemperate regions. An alternative hypothesis, that Madagascar is a refuge for ancient lineages resulting from successive colonizations from Africa, is less parsimonious and does not explain the relatively low continental diversity of the group.
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. 58 • No. 12