Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 229–248 | Cite as

Strong postzygotic isolation prevents introgression between two hybridizing Neotropical orchids, Epidendrum denticulatum and E. fulgens

  • Fábio Pinheiro
  • Poliana Cardoso-Gustavson
  • Rogério Mamoru Suzuki
  • Monique Cristine R. Abrão
  • Leonardo R. S. Guimarães
  • David Draper
  • Ana Paula Moraes
Original Paper


Studies on hybrid zones are essential to understand the origin and evolution of reproductive barriers in plants. To achieve this goal, multidisciplinary approaches are often required to investigate the role of multiple reproductive isolation (RI) mechanisms. For Epidendrum denticulatum and E. fulgens, two Neotropical food-deceptive orchid species, we used molecular, cytogenetic and morphological analyses, experimental crosses and environmental envelope models to assess the strength of the RI and the mechanisms that prevent species collapse when hybridization occurs. Based on genetic assignment tests, hybrids between E. denticulatum and E. fulgens were detected. However, the low frequency of hybrid specimens found, coupled with the high morphological differentiation between parental species, suggested that strong barriers exist to interspecific gene exchange. Indeed, hybrid plants were largely sterile, as determined by meiotic data and crossing experiments. In the hybrid zone studied here, strong postzygotic barriers maintain species integrity, and these RI mechanisms may be also important during early stages of speciation.


Hybridization meiotic behavior Orchidaceae Environmental envelope models Reproductive isolation Speciation 



We thank A. Ferreira and R.C. Marques for help during fieldwork. Funding for this study was provided by grants from FAPESP to FP (2009/15052-0), LRSG (2010/16353-1) and APM (2011/22215-3 and 2012/22077-2), and a PNPD/CAPES fellowship to F. P.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fábio Pinheiro
    • 1
  • Poliana Cardoso-Gustavson
    • 2
  • Rogério Mamoru Suzuki
    • 2
  • Monique Cristine R. Abrão
    • 2
  • Leonardo R. S. Guimarães
    • 2
  • David Draper
    • 3
  • Ana Paula Moraes
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)Rio ClaroBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto de BotânicaNúcleo de Pesquisa do Orquidário do EstadoSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciencias NaturalesUniversidad Técnica Particular de LojaLojaEcuador
  4. 4.Departamento de Genética, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)BotucatuBrazil

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