Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 263–273 | Cite as

Dispersal via stream corridors structures populations of the endangered St. Francis’ satyr butterfly (Neonympha mitchellii francisci)

  • Laura V. Milko
  • Nick M. Haddad
  • Stacey L. Lance
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Habitat fragmentation may reduce gene flow and population viability of rare species. We tested whether riparian corridors enhanced gene flow and if human habitat modification between riparian corridors subsequently reduced dispersal and gene flow of a wetland butterfly, the US federally endangered St. Francis’ satyr butterfly (Neonympha mitchellii francisci). We surveyed nine populations throughout the taxon’s range using five polymorphic microsatellite loci. We found that genetic diversity of N. m. francisci was relatively high despite its restricted distribution, and that there is little evidence of population bottlenecks or extensive inbreeding within populations. We found substantial gene flow and detectable first generation migration, suggesting that N. m. francisci is unlikely to be currently endangered by genetic factors. Pairwise population differentiation and clustering indicate some structuring between populations on different drainages and suggest that dispersal probably occurs mainly via a stepping stone from the closest riparian corridors. However, genetic differentiation between geographically close populations suggests that isolation by distance is not solely responsible for population structure, and that management actions should be targeted at maintaining connectivity of riparian and upland habitats.

Keywords

Neonympha mitchellii francisci Satyrinae Butterfly Microsatellite STR Corridors 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura V. Milko
    • 1
  • Nick M. Haddad
    • 1
  • Stacey L. Lance
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Savannah River Ecology LaboratoryUniversity of GeorgiaAikenUSA

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