Population Ecology

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 0145–0156 | Cite as

Radiation and reticulation: extensive introgressive hybridization in the carabid beetles Ohomopterus inferred from mitochondrial gene genealogy



 In the evolutionary process of an animal lineage, interactions in secondary contacts of differentiated populations and introgressive hybridization may play an important role. In the Japanese islands, the carabid subgenus Ohomopterus (genus Carabus) exhibits a marked differentiation in body size and genital morphology. Although geographical differentiation is apparent, two or three species usually coexist at many localities. Their reproductive isolation relies on body size differences, chemical cues for mate recognition, and a species-specific genital lock-and-key system. However, these isolation mechanisms are not always effective enough to prevent interspecific hybridization. An initial assessment of the species-level phylogeny with mitochondrial gene sequences revealed that the gene genealogy is highly inconsistent with the morphology-based taxonomy. A comparison of mitochondrial and nuclear gene genealogies showed that these are strongly incongruent with each other, while the nuclear gene genealogy is more consistent with traditional taxonomy, indicating the repeated occurrence of introgression of mitochondria across species. Here, two different cases of mitochondrial introgression among Ohomopterus species are described in detail, one for parapatric species and the other for sympatric species. First, mitochondrial haplotypes and sequences were studied in Carabus insulicola and three taxa parapatric with C. insulicola, at least two of which hybridize with C. insulicola naturally. Among the four species studied, directional introgressions of mitochondria across boundary zones were detected. Second, in the Mt. Kongo area in central Honshu, which harbors five species, introgression of mitochondria among four out of the five species was detected, despite the apparent absence of on-going natural hybridization. These inferred cases of mitochondrial introgression indicate that species interactions through hybridization could have played an important role at various stages in the evolution of Ohomopterus.

Key words Hybridization Introgression Mitochondrial DNA Molecular phylogeny 


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Sota
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan Tel. +81-75-753-4078; Fax +81-75-753-4100 e-mail:

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