Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (4): 475-486, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.072

Cryptic diversity and signs of mitochondrial introgression in the Agrilus viridis species complex (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)

Mikko PENTINSAARI1, Marko MUTANEN1, Lauri KAILA2
1 Department of Biology, P.O. Box 3000, FIN-90014 University of Oulu, Finland; e-mails: mikko.pentinsaari@oulu.fi; marko.mutanen@oulu.fi
2 Finnish Museum of Natural History, Zoology Unit, P.O. Box 17, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland; e-mail: lauri.kaila@helsinki.fi

The jewel beetle genus Agrilus (Buprestidae), with approximately 2880 recognized species, is taxonomically challenging due to the great similarity of species. An example of taxonomic ambiguity is the Agrilus viridis species group, particularly the viridis complex that comprises many varieties differing both ecologically and morphologically. The status of these varieties has remained largely unresolved and no consensus exists on their status. We used geometric morphometrics in combination with the DNA barcode marker sequence in order to evaluate the possible distinction among populations of A. viridis feeding on Alnus, Betula and a variety of Salix species in Finland. We found that morphology supports the existence of two species, one feeding on Betula and Alnus, the other feeding on Salix. The findings based on DNA barcodes are more complex, suggesting possible introgression events in the species' history. Our results suggest that the Betula/Alnus and Salix feeding forms of A. viridis represent distinct species that have, while maintaining their morphological integrity, probably experienced repeated hybridization events in the past. DNA barcoding provides valuable additional information for taxonomic studies based on careful morphological study and information on their ecology, but drawing taxonomic conclusions from barcode data alone can lead to considerable confusion.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Buprestidae, Agrilus, DNA barcoding, geometric morphometrics, cryptic diversity, mitochondrial introgression

Received: January 21, 2014; Accepted: May 30, 2014; Prepublished online: August 19, 2014; Published: October 1, 2014

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