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The influence of stochastic and selective forces in the population divergence of female colour polymorphism in damselflies of the genus Ischnura

  • Rosa Sanchez Guillen
  • Bengt Hansson
  • Maren Wellenreuther
  • Erik Svensson
  • A. T Cordero-Rivera
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 513-522
Publication/Series: Heredity
Volume: 107
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Macmillan

Abstract english

Disentangling the relative importance and potential interactions of selection and genetic drift in driving phenotypic divergence of species is a classical research topic in population genetics and evolutionary biology. Here, we evaluate the role of stochastic and selective forces on population divergence of a colour polymorphism in seven damselfly species of the genus Ischnura, with a particular focus on I. elegans and I. graellsii. Colour-morph frequencies in Spanish I. elegans populations varied greatly, even at a local scale, whereas more similar frequencies were found among populations in eastern Europe. In contrast, I. graellsii and the other five Ischnura species showed little variation in colour-morph frequencies between populations. FST-outlier analyses revealed that the colour locus deviated strongly from neutral expectations in Spanish populations of I. elegans, contrasting the pattern found in eastern European populations, and in I. graellsii, where no such discrepancy between morph divergence and neutral divergence could be detected. This suggests that divergent selection has been operating on the colour locus in Spanish populations of I. elegans, whereas processes such as genetic drift, possibly in combination with other forms of selection (such as negative frequency-dependent selection), appear to have been present in other regions, such as eastern Europe. Overall, the results indicate that both selective and stochastic processes operate on these colour polymorphisms, and suggest that the relative importance of factors varies between geographical regions.


  • Biological Sciences
  • balancing selection
  • genetic drift
  • FST-outlier
  • damselflies
  • colour polymorphism
  • divergent selection


  • Colour genes in dragonflies
  • BECC
  • Evolutionary Population Biology (Erik Svensson)-lup-obsolete
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1365-2540
E-mail: erik [dot] svensson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Evolutionary ecology

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