Title

Characterizing Bay Area Speyeria butterflies: what is S. zerene sonomensis?

Poster Number

32

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Ryan Hill

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

The adult color patterns of many Lepidoptera vary significantly both from region to region and also within subpopulations. Identification to the level of subspecies during field studies may be difficult due to the similarity in color patterns of different subspecies within the same habitat. This is particularly relevant in studies of declining Speyeria butterflies, where species look alike locally and matching the local variants to regional species can be a challenge. An example in the Bay Area needing study is S. zerene sonomensis. Speyeria zerene is a species with multiple endangered subspecies along the coast of Northern California and Oregon. S. z. sonomensis was described as a distinct subspecies located in Sonoma county in areas impacted by agriculture and development. However, it has not been clear whether it actually belongs to S. zerene or instead is a subpopulation of another species, Speyeria coronis. These species are confusingly similar in parts of their range and appear to overlap in phenotypes in the Bay Area, opening the question of whether the taxonomy is correct. We are therefore focused here on using the mitochondrial gene Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit 1 (CO1) to test the validity of current taxonomy for Speyeria populations in the Bay Area. There are three alternatives for the status of S. z. sonomensis: 1) the described S. z. sonomensis is actually a population of S. coronis, 2) it is actually a population of another Speyeria species, or 3) that it is S. zerene as currently recognized. To test these hypotheses, we ask two questions, how well does the CO1 gene resolve the different species of Speyeria in the Bay Area, and if it works well, to which species does S. zerene sonomensis belong?

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

30-4-2016 1:30 AM

End Date

30-4-2016 3:30 PM

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Apr 30th, 1:30 AM Apr 30th, 3:30 PM

Characterizing Bay Area Speyeria butterflies: what is S. zerene sonomensis?

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

The adult color patterns of many Lepidoptera vary significantly both from region to region and also within subpopulations. Identification to the level of subspecies during field studies may be difficult due to the similarity in color patterns of different subspecies within the same habitat. This is particularly relevant in studies of declining Speyeria butterflies, where species look alike locally and matching the local variants to regional species can be a challenge. An example in the Bay Area needing study is S. zerene sonomensis. Speyeria zerene is a species with multiple endangered subspecies along the coast of Northern California and Oregon. S. z. sonomensis was described as a distinct subspecies located in Sonoma county in areas impacted by agriculture and development. However, it has not been clear whether it actually belongs to S. zerene or instead is a subpopulation of another species, Speyeria coronis. These species are confusingly similar in parts of their range and appear to overlap in phenotypes in the Bay Area, opening the question of whether the taxonomy is correct. We are therefore focused here on using the mitochondrial gene Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit 1 (CO1) to test the validity of current taxonomy for Speyeria populations in the Bay Area. There are three alternatives for the status of S. z. sonomensis: 1) the described S. z. sonomensis is actually a population of S. coronis, 2) it is actually a population of another Speyeria species, or 3) that it is S. zerene as currently recognized. To test these hypotheses, we ask two questions, how well does the CO1 gene resolve the different species of Speyeria in the Bay Area, and if it works well, to which species does S. zerene sonomensis belong?