"Evolutionary mechanisms are often difficult to observe in action because evolution generally works slowly over time. Hybrid zones provide a unique opportunity to observe many evolutionary processes, such as reinforcement, because of the rapid changes that tend to occur in these zones. Salamanders provide an ideal model for examining the rapid changes in populations that result from hybridization because many closely-related species lack reproductive barriers. In Missouri, a well-documented hybridization zone exists among the two subspecies Eurycea longicauda longicauda (long-tailed salamander) and E. L. melanopleura (dark-sided salamander). These salamanders inhabit caves, limestone creek beds, and abandoned mine shafts. A closely related species, Eurycea lucifuga (red cave salamander) also inhabits caves and mine shafts. A recent study found that E. lucifuga and E. longicauda ssp. were likely hybridizing in the Onondaga Cave system. In this study, samples were collected from three Missouri caves with the E. longicauda ssp. hybrid zone. Morphological analysis demonstrated significant differences in the morphology of each species and genetic analysis presented evidence of potential hybridization among these species. Because of the apparent differing degrees of hybridization occurring among the Eurycea species, this hybrid zone could offer a valuable natural laboratory to investigate the mechanisms of reinforcement"--Abstract, page iii.
Maglia, Anne M.
Mormile, Melanie R.
M.S. in Applied and Environmental Biology
Missouri. Department of Natural Resources
National Science Foundation (U.S.)
Missouri University of Science and Technology
viii, 63 pages
Onondaga Cave State Park (Mo.)
© 2010 Bonnie Jean Beasley, All rights reserved.
Thesis - Open Access
Salamanders -- Missouri -- Onondaga Cave State Park
Print OCLC #
Electronic OCLC #
Link to Catalog Record
Beasley, Bonnie Jean, "Analysis of Eurycea hybrid zone in eastern Missouri" (2010). Masters Theses. 6727.