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Geographic patterns of genetic differentiation and plumage colour variation are different in the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)

  • Paula K. Lehtonen
  • Toni Laaksonen
  • Aleksandr V. Artemyev
  • Eugen Belskii
  • Christian Both
  • Stanislav Bures
  • Andrey V. Bushuev
  • Indrikis Krams
  • Juan Moreno
  • Marko Mägi
  • Andreas Nord
  • Jaime Potti
  • Pierre-Alain Ravussin
  • Päivi M. Sirkiä
  • Glenn-Peter Saetre
  • Craig R. Primmer
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 4463-4476
Publication/Series: Molecular Ecology
Volume: 18
Issue: 21
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

The pied flycatcher is one of the most phenotypically variable bird species in Europe. The geographic variation in phenotypes has often been attributed to spatial variation in selection regimes that is associated with the presence or absence of the congeneric collared flycatcher. Spatial variation in phenotypes could however also be generated by spatially restricted gene flow and genetic drift. We examined the genetic population structure of pied flycatchers across the breeding range and applied the phenotypic Q(ST) (P(ST))-F(ST) approach to detect indirect signals of divergent selection on dorsal plumage colouration in pied flycatcher males. Allelic frequencies at neutral markers were found to significantly differ among populations breeding in central and southern Europe whereas northerly breeding pied flycatchers were found to be one apparently panmictic group of individuals. Pairwise differences between phenotypic (P(ST)) and neutral genetic distances (F(ST)) were positively correlated after removing the most differentiated Spanish and Swiss populations from the analysis, suggesting that genetic drift may have contributed to the observed phenotypic differentiation in some parts of the pied flycatcher breeding range. Differentiation in dorsal plumage colouration however greatly exceeded that observed at neutral genetic markers, which indicates that the observed pattern of phenotypic differentiation is unlikely to be solely maintained by restricted gene flow and genetic drift.


  • Biological Sciences
  • genetic differentiation
  • phylogeography
  • passerine birds
  • microsatellites
  • pigmentation
  • colonization


  • ISSN: 0962-1083
Andreas Nord
E-mail: andreas [dot] nord [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Evolutionary ecology


Ekologihuset, Sölvegatan 37, Lund