, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 97–103 | Cite as

Genetic divergence between populations of two closely related troglobitic beetle species (Speonomus: Bathysciinae, Coleoptera)

  • B. Crouau-Roy


Genetic variability and divergence at 13 enzyme loci were studied in two species of troglobitic beetles (Speonomus zophosinus andhydrophilus 12 populations) collected from the Pyrenees mountains. These allopatric species exhibit a high degree of specialization to underground life and a very small geographical range.

Four diagnostic loci arePgi, Est-2, Pac-1, Phi. Within each species polymorphic loci exhibited marked spatial variation of allele frequencies, sometimes over short distances (5–10 km). The levels of genetic variability are comparable to those observed in non-cave invertebrates (frequency of polymorphic loci: 0.31; average expected heterozygosity: 0.112±0.015). Moreover, a single species showed variability in the average level of heterozygosity (0.06 to 0.172). Patterns of genetic differentiation among species were also studied; mean genetic distance (D: 0.263±0.010) between the twoSpeonomus species was of the same order of magnitude as most data reported in the literature between species.

A significant heterozygote deficiency occurs in local populations and for all loci. This deficit does not vary from locus to locus. Several hypotheses were examined in an attempt to account for these observations in connection with the species biology. This deficit probably is due to the breeding structure of the population (inbreeding and assortative mating) coupled with limited dispersal ability.


Polymorphic Locus Dispersal Ability Assortative Mating Pyrenees Beetle Species 
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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Crouau-Roy
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire souterrain du CNRSSaint-GironsFrance

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