Life History Aspects and Phylogeography of Exyra semicrocea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and their Implications for Pitcher Plant Bog Conservation
Type of Degreethesis
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Informed conservation decisions involve synthesizing information from a variety of disciplines. These include, but are not limited to, topics on life history, current anthropogenic threats, community interactions, and ecological processes. Here, I provide not only a robust life history of Exyra semicrocea, an endemic arthropod associate within pitcher plants, but also elucidate genetic connectivity of this species in order to develop a holistic approach to conservation of pitcher plant bogs throughout the southeastern United States Coastal Plain. Findings indicate that E. semicrocea populations have a genetic divergence across the Mississippi alluvial plain and a transition zone found near the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. In addition, there is strong genetic structure among the three populations in the West Gulf Coastal Plain. These results with the natural history information that suggests weak dispersal ability as well as possible extirpation from multiple populations highlight the need to conserve not only the plants of this community but to take into account other endemic and associated community members as well when conserving and restoring pitcher plant bogs.