Delimiting species boundaries for endangered Canary Island grasshoppers based on DNA sequence data

Abstract

Mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I and nuclear ITS2 sequences were surveyed from Canary Islands threatened species of the genera Purpuraria and Acrostira (Orthoptera: Pamphagidae). Phylogenetic and population analyses show that the two previously recognized Purpuraria erna subspecies are not valid as conservation units, and that there is a new unrecognized species of Purpuraria, coincident with recently discovered morphological variation within the genus. In addition, mitochondrial introgression seems to occur between the two Purpuraria species in southwest Lanzarote. Species-delimitation based on the morphological taxonomy of Acrostira, which recognizes four single-island endemics, is only partially supported by the genetic data. It shows that currently admitted species from the central and western islands of Tenerife, La Gomera and La Palma are closely related, with evidence of recent gene flow between the Tenerife and La Gomera populations. MtDNA variation also showed that A. euphorbiae, currently considered as the most critically endangered grasshopper species in the Canaries, has lower population diversity than its close relatives.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the comments of Dr Vogler and of two anonymous referees that helped to improve the paper. We are also indebted to Pablo Barranco and José Antonio Jurado (Spain), Antoine Foucart and Michel Lecoq (France), Amnon Freidberg (Israel) and Barbara Dombrowsky (South Africa) for providing individuals of some continental species. Bruno Massa (Italy) kindly identified the species from Morocco. Helena Morales, Salvador de la Cruz, Nuria Macías, Antonio J. Pérez, Bernardo Rodríguez, Rafael Ruiz, Esther Cano, Ancor González, Nauset López, Marcos Báez and Antonio Machado assisted in fieldwork. Oscar Moya’s excellent help in the lab and his revision of a first version of the manuscript is kindly acknowledged. Marieta Vázquez (Mallorca), Garajonay National Park (La Gomera) and the Cabildos of La Palma, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote gave us logistic support. The corresponding permits to collect in protected areas were obtained from the different Cabildos, and to collect protected species from the Canarian Government. H. López and H. Contreras-Díaz have grants awarded by the Consejería de Educación, Cultura y Deportes of the Canary Government, and by the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (FPI) respectively. This study was supported by the research funds REN2003-00024/GLO (Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia-European Union FEDER funds) and by conservation funds of Cabildo de La Palma and Consejería de Política Territorial of the Canarian Government.

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Correspondence to Carlos Juan.

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López, H., Contreras-Díaz, H.G., Oromí, P. et al. Delimiting species boundaries for endangered Canary Island grasshoppers based on DNA sequence data. Conserv Genet 8, 587–598 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10592-006-9199-5

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Keywords

  • Acrostira
  • Purpuraria
  • Pamphagidae
  • Orthoptera
  • Canary Islands
  • Conservation
  • Molecular phylogeny
  • Species delimitation