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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Molecular evidence for a recent founder event in the UK populations of the Adonis blue butterfly (Polyommatus bellargus)
Authors: Harper, Georgina L
Maclean, Norman
Goulson, Dave
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Keywords: Lepidoptera
calcareous grasslands
founder event
Issue Date: Apr-2008
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Harper GL, Maclean N & Goulson D (2008) Molecular evidence for a recent founder event in the UK populations of the Adonis blue butterfly (Polyommatus bellargus), Journal of Insect Conservation, 12 (2), pp. 147-153.
Abstract: Contrary to accepted theories of post-glacial colonisation of the UK approximately 10,000 ybp, historical population data for Polyommatus bellargus suggests the butterfly was either extremely rare or not present before 1775. We examined the phylogeography of the species by sequencing the ‘hypervariable’ mitochondrial control region of UK and French butterflies. Overall, twenty-two polymorphic nucleotide sites were identified within the control region. French specimens were highly variable, with seventeen polymorphic sites, whereas most UK specimens were monomorphic. Average nucleotide diversity was 0.026 (S.D. 0.016, n = 8) in France, whilst the UK values ranged from 0.00 (n = 6) (for every UK population outside Dorset, n = 43) to 0.01 (S.D. 0.008, n = 7) (Dorset). The mean number of pairwise differences among the French samples was 7.42, whilst the UK values ranged from 0.00 (all populations except Dorset) to 0.295 (Dorset). One French haplotype differed from the predominant UK version by just a single nucleotide substitution. It seems implausible that the species can have been resident in the UK for 10,000 years without accumulating variation at this mitochondrial region. Thus, the results suggest that either a severe genetic bottleneck or founder event has occurred recently in the UK.
Type: Journal Article
DOI Link:
Rights: Published in Journal of Insect Conservation by Springer. The original publication is available at
Affiliation: University of Glamorgan
University of Southampton
Biological and Environmental Sciences

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