DOI: 10.1111/1744-7917.13262 ISSN:

Spatiotemporal dynamics in butterfly hybrid zones

Ananda R. Pereira Martins, Natalie B. Warren, W. Owen McMillan, Rowan D. H. Barrett
  • Insect Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Evaluating whether hybrid zones are stable or mobile can provide novel insights for evolution and conservation biology. Butterflies exhibit high sensitivity to environmental changes and represent an important model system for the study of hybrid zone origins and maintenance. Here, we review the literature exploring butterfly hybrid zones, with a special focus on their spatiotemporal dynamics and the potential mechanisms that could lead to their movement or stability. We then compare different lines of evidence used to investigate hybrid zone dynamics and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. Our goal with this review is to reveal general conditions associated with the stability or mobility of butterfly hybrid zones by synthesizing evidence obtained using different types of data sampled across multiple regions and spatial scales. Finally, we discuss spatiotemporal dynamics in the context of a speciation/divergence continuum, the relevance of hybrid zones for conservation biology, and recommend key topics for future investigation.

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