Conservation Genetics

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1389–1401 | Cite as

Low genetic differentiation between populations of an endemic prairie katydid despite habitat loss and fragmentation

  • Gideon NeyEmail author
  • Johannes Schul
Research Article


Tallgrass prairie habitats within North America have suffered severe fragmentation and habitat loss as land has been converted for agricultural purposes. Habitat loss and fragmentation can affect gene flow and the genetic structure of insect populations. Neoconocephalus bivocatus is a prairie obligate katydid found only in isolated prairie patches. We compared genetic diversity and population differentiation using AFLP markers in N. bivocatus and N. robustus, a grassland generalist that is not isolated to prairie fragments and occupies a more contiguous range. Similar levels of genetic diversity were present within populations of both species. While population genetic structure was found in both species, there was no relationship between assigned genotypes and sampling localities. This genetic structure may instead be evidence of a past barrier to gene flow that has since been removed. Genetic differentiation within both species was low, with no evidence of a correlation with geographic distance, indicating neither species is dispersal limited at these distances. We see no significant reduction in genetic diversity or genetic differentiation within N. bivocatus when compared to N. robustus. We therefore conclude that while N. bivocatus utilizes a fragmented landscape, long-distance dispersal likely maintains gene flow between isolated prairie patches.


Habitat fragmentation Genetic differentiation Prairie AFLP Katydid Insect 



This work was supported by a grant of the National Science Foundation (IOS 1146878) and through a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation. We thank Katy Frederick and Nathan Harness for assistance with specimen collection and recording males. We thank Lori Eggert, the editor, and two anonymous reviewers for valuable feedback on the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10592_2017_987_MOESM1_ESM.eps (5.7 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 AFLP neighbor-joining network analyses produced from data sets each consisting of all 2015 individuals and one of the replicate sets of eight individuals form 2013. Letters ‘a’ and ‘c’ denote which plate samples were run on. Replicate samples always fell with their matching species cluster. Networks showed no reduction in the between species bootstrap results (>0.99). Bootstrap values within species clusters were low (<0.04), resulting in replicate samples falling in different places within the two analyses (EPS 5787 KB)
10592_2017_987_MOESM2_ESM.eps (6.5 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 2 (A) Neighbor-joining AFLP network and (B) median-joining haplotype map of 2013 samples. Colors indicate species-specific call assignments, N. robustus (red), N. bivocatus (blue), intermediate phenotype (green), and unknown call type (black). Numbered individuals are those that possess a mismatched AFLP cluster assignment and call phenotype. Within the median-joining CO1 haplotype network three primary haplotype clusters were observed with little genetic differentiation within clusters. Two were made up of primarily N. bivocatus individuals and one was made up of primarily N. robustus individuals. All individuals found in one of the two CO1 N. bivocatus clusters fell within the N. bivocatus AFLP cluster and all individuals in the N. robustus CO1 cluster were found in the N. robustus AFLP cluster. This concordance of nuclear and mitochondrial relationships held true even among individuals possessing the heterospecific call type within genetic clusters (EPS 6678 KB)
10592_2017_987_MOESM3_ESM.docx (90 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 N. robustus and N. bivocatus collection site abbreviations and names, coordinates, dates of collection, and numbers of each species collected (DOCX 89 KB)
10592_2017_987_MOESM4_ESM.docx (38 kb)
Supplementary Table 2 Estimated membership coefficient (Q) assignments for population 1 as measured from two independent Structure runs. Data sets consisted of all 2015 individuals and one of the replicate sets of eight individuals form 2013 (DOCX 38 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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