Genetic differentiation between Australian and North American populations of the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus (L.)(Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae): an exploration using allozyme electrophoresis
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Allozyme analysis was used to address the question of the source of the Australian populations of the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus (L.). The study had three major aims: (1) To compare the levels of diversity of Australian and Hawaiian populations with potential source populations. (2) To determine whether eastern and western North American populations were sufficiently divergent for the Australian populations to be aligned to a source population. (3) To compare the differentiation among regions in Australia and North America to test the prediction of greater genetic structure in Australia, as a consequence of reduced migratory behaviour. The reverse was found, with FST values an order of magnitude lower in Australia than in North America. Predictably, Australian and Hawaiian populations had lower allelic diversity, but unexpected higher heterozygosity values than North American populations. It was not possible to assign the Australian populations to a definitive source, although the high levels of similarity of Australian populations to each other suggest a single colonization event. The possibility that the Australian populations have not been here long enough to reach equilibrium is discussed.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society