Sympatric, Temporally Isolated Populations of the Pine White Butterfly Neophasia menapia, are Morphologically and Genetically Differentiated
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Temporal isolation remains an understudied, and potentially under-appreciated, mechanism of reproductive isolation. Phenological differences have been discovered in populations of the pine white butterfly (Neophasia menapia), a typically univoltine species found throughout western North America. At two locations in the Coast Range of California there are two periods of adult emergence per year, one in early summer (July) and one in late summer/autumn (September/October). Differences in flight time are accompanied by differences in wing shape and pigmentation. Here we use a combination of population genomics and morphological analyses to assess the extent to which temporal isolation is able to limit gene flow between sympatric early and late flights. Not only did we detect both genetic and morphological differences between early and late flights at the two sites, we also found that the patterns of differentiation between the two flights were different at each location, suggesting an independent origin for the two sympatric flights. Additionally, we found no evidence that these sympatric flights originated via colonization from any of the other sampled localities. We discuss several potential hypotheses about the origin of these temporally isolated sympatric flights.