The project was carried out by Dr. Neus Marí-Mena in collaboration with researchers from the Universidade da Coruña (Spain) and the Institut national de la recherche agronomique (France).
The lepidopteran Graellsia isabellae mainly occurs in the montane forests of eastern Spain and the French Alps where it is protected in some areas. This study has focused on the phylogeographic patterns of this iconic species for which researchers used both microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA. Results have revealed a strong phylogeographic pattern across the entire distribution range and have unveiled 6 well-differentiated clusters in different Iberian massifs and in the French Alps.
As Dr. Marí-Mena highlights, “despite no evidence of differentiation associated to the use of its current main host-plants (Pinus sylvestris and Pinus nigra) being found, their past and current wide distribution suggests that Graellsia isabellae diversification occurred by host switching between both Pinus species during the Holocene”.
This interesting work is expected to contribute to the progress of conservation policies for Graellsia isabellae and the forests where it occurs.
To access the paper click on the following link: Neus Marí-Mena, Carlos Lopez-Vaamonde, Horacio Naveira, Marie-Anne Auger-Rozenberg, Marta Vila (2016) Phylogeography of the Spanish Moon Moth Graellsia isabellae (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 16:139.