Genetic diversity and widespread haplotypes in a migratory dragonfly, the common green darner Anax junius

Freeland, Joanna R.; May, Michael; Lodge, Rebecca and Conrad, Kelvin F. (2003). Genetic diversity and widespread haplotypes in a migratory dragonfly, the common green darner Anax junius. Ecological Entomology, 28(4) pp. 413–421.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2311.2003.00521.x

Abstract

Abstract. 1. Species that undertake regular two-way migration may be expected, through population connectivity, to exhibit some level of genetic similarity over broad spatial scales. Although seldom following two-way migration, highly mobile insect species tend to exhibit either low haplotype diversity and no phylogeographic structuring, or relatively high haplotype diversity and pronounced phylogeographic structuring.
2. This study reveals the first wide-scale genetic characterisation of a migratory dragonfly, the common green darner Anax junius Drury. Unusually for insects, north-south two-way migration is common in this species, although not obligatory. In at least part of its range, some individuals follow an extended developmental period and overwinter in a state of diapause.
3. Mitochondrial sequence data were obtained from 92 A. junius individuals collected from 35 sites across Canada, U.S.A., and Mexico. These revealed 38 haplotypes, some of which were extremely widespread, although the majority (27 haplotypes) was found in only one individual. In contrast to previous studies on mobile insects, the overall pattern was of relatively high haplotype diversity in the absence of phylogeographic structuring.
4. Migrants and non-migrants, which sometimes shared haplotypes, were distributed across multiple genetic lineages. This suggests that, contrary to some earlier assertions, developmental pathways in this species may be plastic. Such plasticity would allow highly mobile species to adapt to a range of environmental conditions, and may be key to the widespread distribution of multiple haplotypes.

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