Biogeographical patterns of genetic differentiation in dung beetles of the genus Trypocopris (Coleoptera, Geotrupidae) inferred from mtDNA and AFLP analyses
To examine the phylogeography and population structure of three dung beetle species of the genus Trypocopris (Coleoptera, Geotrupidae). We wanted to test whether genetic differences and genealogies among populations were in accordance with morphologically described subspecies and we aimed to establish times of divergence among subspecies to depict the appropriate temporal framework of their phylogeographical differentiation. We also wished to investigate the historical demographic events and the relative influences of gene flow and drift on the distribution of genetic variability of the different populations. Location
Europe (mostly Italy). Methods
We collected adult males from dung pats from 15 Italian localities over the period 2000–2002. For sequence analysis, some dried specimens from Albania, Croatia, Slovakia and Spain were also used. We applied cytochrome oxidase I mitochondrial DNA sequencing and the amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) technique to determine whether phylogeographical patterns within the three species support the proposed hypotheses of subspecies designations, and to detect further structure among populations that might mediate diversification. Results and main conclusions
The results show a high concordance between the distribution of mtDNA variation and the main morphological groups recognized as subspecies, which thus may represent independent evolutionary units. The degree of mitochondrial divergence suggests that speciation events occurred during the Pliocene, while diversification of the main subspecific lineages took place in the Pleistocene, from c. 0.3 to 1.5 Ma. Mitochondrial and nuclear data also reveal that there is phylogeographical structuring among populations within each of the main groups and that both contemporary and historical processes determined this pattern of genetic structure. Geographical populations form monophyletic clades in both phylogenetic and network reconstructions. Despite the high levels of intrapopulational diversity, FST values indicate moderate but significant genetic differentiation among populations, and a Bayesian clustering analysis of the AFLP data clearly separates the geographical populations. Nucleotide and gene diversity estimates reveal interspecific differences in the degree of diversification among populations that may be related to the different ecological requirements of the three species.