Biogeography and genetic population structure of the buckeye butterflies (genus Junonia) in the Western Hemisphere: patterns of hybridization, dispersal, and speciation
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The New World buckeye butterflies (genus Junonia) are a valuable experimental model organisms, but the taxonomy of this group has been problematic and contentious. I have clarified the taxonomy of the Junonia species in North America using molecular and morphological data from contemporary and museum collections, focusing on Florida, the American Southwest, and Mexico. Junonia populations in Florida have been assigned to different species and J. coenia grisea in the American Southwest has been elevated to full species status. Using this framework, I reconstructed the invasion history of the tropical buckeye (J. zonalis) into South Florida. For the species that occur in the American Southwest and Mexico, I have plotted the contemporary distributions of the five species that occur in this region. Evidence of hybridization was documented and a cryptic species pair was identified (J. coenia and J. grisea). An improved taxonomy will encourage and support further comparative biology research.