Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 51–64 | Cite as

Ecology predicts parapatric distributions in two closely related Antirrhinum majus subspecies

  • A. Khimoun
  • J. Cornuault
  • M. Burrus
  • B. Pujol
  • C. Thebaud
  • C. Andalo
Original Paper


Using a species distribution model, we reconstructed the environmental niches of Antirrhinum majus pseudomajus and Antirrhinum majus striatum, two closely related species with parapatric distributions. We tested whether retention of ancestral environmental niche (i.e. niche conservatism) or adaptation to different ecological conditions (i.e. niche divergence) could explain the maintenance of their non-overlapping geographic ranges. We found that the environmental niche of A. m. pseudomajus is almost twice as large as that of A. m. striatum, with substantial overlap indicating that A. m. pseudomajus and A. m. striatum should co-occur frequently within the geographic range of A. m. striatum. By analysing contact zones where both subspecies are geographically close, we found that the presence of one subspecies instead of the other was significantly influenced by particular combinations of climatic factors. Since independent genetic evidence indicates that the two subspecies have experienced phases of range overlap at or near contact zones over the course of their evolutionary history, we propose that ecological niche displacement might be an important factor in explaining the absence of current range overlap between A. majus subspecies.


Antirrhinum majus Parapatry Niche modeling Niche divergence Ecological character displacement 



All the work presented in this article was supported by core funding from CNRS and the University of Toulouse Paul Sabatier, France. A. Khimoun and J. Cornault are supported by a PhD grant from the French ministry of research. We thank, Yann Bourgeois and Loïc Tudesque for technical help with GIS files. We thank Jérôme Chave, Jean-Baptiste Ferdy, and Ferran Palero for their useful comments on the manuscript. We also thank the associate editor Mario Vallejo-Marin and two anonymous reviewers for their useful suggestions. This work is part of the “Laboratoire d’Excellence (LABEX)” entitled TULIP (ANR-10-LABX-41).

Supplementary material

10682_2012_9574_MOESM1_ESM.doc (58 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 58 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Khimoun
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Cornuault
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Burrus
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Pujol
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Thebaud
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Andalo
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique (EDB), UMR5174Université de Toulouse (UPS)Toulouse cedex 9France
  2. 2.Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique (EDB), UMR5174CNRSToulouse cedex 9France

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