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Low temperatures limit the poleward distribution of many species such that the expansion of geographic range can only be accomplished via evolutionary innovation. We have tested for physiological differences among closely related species to determine whether their poleward latitudinal ranges are limited by tolerance to cold. We measured lower temperature tolerance (LT50) among a group of intertidal pulmonate snails from six congeneric species and nine locales. Differences in tolerance are placed in the context of a molecular phylogeny based on one mitochondrial (cytochrome oxidase subunit I) and two nuclear (histone 3 and a mitochondrial phosphate carrier protein) markers. Temperate species from two separate lineages had significantly lower measures of LT50 than related tropical species. Range differences within the temperate zone, however, were not explained by LT50. These results show that multiple adaptations to cold and freezing may have enabled range expansions out of the tropics in Melampus. However, northern range limits within temperate species are not governed by cold tolerance alone. © 2014 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

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