Trigo, T. C., Schneider, A., De Oliveira, T. G., Lehugeur, L. M., Silveira, L., Freitas, T. R. O., & Eizirik, E. (2013). Molecular data reveal complex hybridization and a cryptic species of Neotropical wild cat. Current Biology, 23(24), 2528–2533.
Hybridization among animal species has recently become more recognized as an important phenomenon, especially in the context of recent radiations [1-9]. Here we show that complex hybridization has led to contrasting patterns of genomic composition among closely related species of the Neotropical cat genus Leopardus. We show strong evidence of ancient hybridization and introgression between the pampas cat (L. colocolo) and northeastern populations of tigrina (L. tigrinus), leading to remarkable cytonuclear discordance in the latter. In contrast, southern tigrina populations show recent and continuing hybridization with Geoffroy’s cat (L. geoffroyi), leading to extreme levels of interspecific admixture at their contact zone. Finally, we demonstrate that two seemingly continuous Brazilian tigrina populations show no evidence of ongoing gene flow between them, leading us to support their formal recognition as distinct species, namely L. tigrinus in the northeast and L. guttulus in the south.
© 2013 Elsevier Ltd.