Data from: Conservation genetics and the implication for recovery of the endangered Mitchell’s satyr butterfly, Neonympha mitchellii mitchellii
Hamm, Christopher A.; Rademacher, Victoria; Landis, Douglas A.; Williams, Barry L. (2013), Data from: Conservation genetics and the implication for recovery of the endangered Mitchell’s satyr butterfly, Neonympha mitchellii mitchellii, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n31kq
The modern delineation of taxonomic groups is often aided by analyses of molecular data, which can also help inform conservation biology. Two subspecies of the butterfly Neonympha mitchellii are classified as federally endangered in the United States: Neonympha mitchellii mitchellii, the Mitchell’s satyr, and Neonympha mitchellii francisi, the Saint Francis’s satyr. The recent discovery of additional disjunct populations of N. mitchellii in the southeastern US could have important implications for both legal protection and management decisions. We elucidated the relationships among 48 individuals representing 5 N. mitchellii populations using 6 molecular markers (5 nuclear and 1 mitochondrial) under a variety of analytical frameworks. Phylogenetic analysis resulted in moderately supported clades that corresponded with the geographic region where samples originated. Clustering analyses identified 3 groups, wherein the 2 named subspecies formed separate clusters. Coalescent analyses indicated evolutionary divergence between N. m. mitchellii and all other populations but weakly supported divergence among N. m. francisi and the recently discovered populations. Hence, the 2 currently accepted subspecies were clearly different from one another, but the recently discovered populations could not be completely distinguished from N. m. francisi or each other. We propose that N. m. mitchellii and N. m. francisi continue to be managed as separate endangered species.