, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 203-216
Date: 26 Mar 2008

Conservation genetics of three flightless beetle species in southern California

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Regional scale conservation decisions can be aided by information on the distribution of intraspecific diversity, especially the extent to which patterns are common to multiple species. We compare patterns of intraspecific mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) variation among three flightless beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: Nyctoporis carinata LeConte; Staphylinidae: Sepedophilus castaneus (Horn); Carabidae: Calathus ruficollis Dejean) in the southern part of the California Floristic Province biodiversity hotspot. All species exhibit moderate to high levels of total variation, ranging from 2% to 10% (maximum uncorrected distance). Most populations of all species exhibit unique haplotypes, but few populations’ haplotypes constitute exclusive clades. Many adjacent pairs of populations show indications of some, though limited, genetic connectedness, due either to gene flow or ancestral polymorphism. However, in most cases this diminishes sharply over greater distances. By both statistical and phylogenetic measures, Sierra Nevadan populations are highly distinct from those in the coast and transverse ranges. Among the latter, the eastern transverse ranges are generally most unique and isolated, with diversity in the western parts of these ranges showing fewer barriers. Otherwise, few measures agree on areas of highest conservation value, and overall patterns tend to be species-specific.