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.
KeywordsColeoptera Tenebrionidae Carabidae Staphylinidae cytochrome oxidase I
We appreciate the assistance of A. Ramsdale, R. Aalbu, K. Will, S. Mulqueen, P. Russell, P. Jump, and I. Foley in collecting or providing specimens, and that of G. Betzholtz in the lab. Several preserves, agencies (and their personnel) generously granted collecting permission and otherwise provided assistance: the California Department of Fish and Game, Los Padres National Forest (M. Freel), the UC Sedgwick Reserve (M. Williams), the Arroyo Hondo Preserve (Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, C. Chapman, J. Iwerks, J. Dunn, and J. Warner), UC Whitaker Forest (R. York), Sequoia National Forest (J. White), Camp Cedar Falls (R. Young), Angeles National Forest and the San Dimas Experimental Forest (M. Oxford), San Bernardino National Forest (M. Lardner, R. Eliason), the UC James Reserve (M. Hamilton), the UC Coal Oil Point Reserve (C. Sandoval), and the UC Santa Cruz Island Reserve (L. Laughrin). This work was supported by the Schlinger Foundation, a bequest from G. Oostertag, and National Science Foundation award DEB0447694 to M. Caterino.
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