Journal Article

Friends or Relatives? Phylogenetics and Species Delimitation in the Controversial European Orchid Genus <i>Ophrys</i>

Dion S. Devey, Richard M. Bateman, Michael F. Fay and Julie A. Hawkins

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 3, pages 385-402
Published in print February 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcm299
Friends or Relatives? Phylogenetics and Species Delimitation in the Controversial European Orchid Genus Ophrys

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Highly variable, yet possibly convergent, morphology and lack of sequence variation have severely hindered production of a robust phylogenetic framework for the genus Ophrys. The aim of this study is to produce this framework as a basis for more rigorous species delimitation and conservation recommendations.

Methods

Nuclear and plastid DNA sequencing and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) were performed on 85 accessions of Ophrys, spanning the full range of species aggregates currently recognized. Data were analysed using a combination of parsimony and Bayesian tree-building techniques and by principal co-ordinates analysis.

Key Results

Complementary phylogenetic analyses and ordinations using nuclear, plastid and AFLP datasets identify ten genetically distinct groups (six robust) within the genus that may in turn be grouped into three sections (treated as subgenera by some authors). Additionally, genetic evidence is provided for a close relationship between the O. tenthredinifera, O. bombyliflora and O. speculum groups. The combination of these analytical techniques provides new insights into Ophrys systematics, notably recognition of the novel O. umbilicata group.

Conclusions

Heterogeneous copies of the nuclear ITS region show that some putative Ophrys species arose through hybridization rather than divergent speciation. The supposedly highly specific pseudocopulatory pollination syndrome of Ophrys is demonstrably ‘leaky’, suggesting that the genus has been substantially over-divided at the species level.

Keywords: AFLP; DNA sequencing; hybridization; introgression; Ophrys; pseudocopulation; species delimitation; systematics

Journal Article.  9374 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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