Distribution of two pine processionary moth species in Turkey evidences a contact zone
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The pine processionary moths Thaumetopoea pityocampa and T. wilkinsoni are among the most important Mediterranean pine defoliators. Although recent studies suggest that the two species may coexist in Turkey, the relevant literature lacks precise information on the occurrence and exact distribution of the two species in this country. In particular, whether the two sister taxa form a contact zone is still unknown. In this study, we aimed to reveal the limits of the ranges of the two species in Turkey by using nuclear (ITS-1, photolyase) and mitochondrial markers (COI). Multilocus molecular characterization of the two species showed for the first time that the two species co-occur in some of the sampling sites. In addition, we determined clear signatures of mitochondrial introgression between the two species, and therefore the existence of a possible hybrid zone within Turkey. These results bring up interesting questions relating to the evolution of the identified hybrid zone.