, Volume 818, Issue 1, pp 105–118 | Cite as

Molecular phylogeny of glacial relict species: a case of freshwater Valvatidae molluscs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in North and East Asia

  • Takumi Saito
  • Larisa Prozorova
  • Tatiana Sitnikova
  • Purevdorj Surenkhorloo
  • Takahiro Hirano
  • Yuta Morii
  • Satoshi Chiba
Primary Research Paper


The study of glacial relict species has been focused on understanding how the biogeographic patterns of species have developed. A number of studies using phylogenetic and population genetics approaches have been conducted for terrestrial glacial relict species, and the mechanisms of their formation have been elucidated. On the other hand, less focus has been placed on glacial relict species inhabiting freshwater systems. In particular, stable lakes can serve as refugia during a glacial period, but research studies on freshwater relict species inhabiting lakes have not been well conducted. In order to clarify the mechanism of the glacial relict species in freshwater, we conducted a molecular phylogeny analysis, divergence time estimation, and a biogeographic reconstruction on freshwater Valvatidae molluscs, which have been considered as a glacial relict in the Japanese Archipelago. Our study shows that the valvatid fauna in the Japanese Archipelago was produced by multiple dispersal events from the Asian continent and by vicariance events during the period of the Pliocene–Quaternary glaciation. It includes multiple relict species that survived interglacial periods in different lakes. These findings suggest that the lakes can serve as refugia not only during glacial periods, but also during interglacial periods.


Japan Lake Phylogeography Refugia 



We are thankful to H. Fukuda for providing samples information. We also thank T. Shimada, J.U. Otani, Y. Murai, K. Kawabe, T. Haga, Omachi City Cultural Property Center, and Katata Fishermen’s Cooperative for collecting materials. Finally, we thank two anonymous referees for providing us with helpful comments on this manuscript. This study was funded in part by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Fellow Grant Number 16J04692.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Life ScienceTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Federal Scientific Center of the East Asia Terrestrial Biodiversity, Far Eastern BranchRussian Academy of SciencesVladivostokRussia
  3. 3.Limnological InstituteSiberian Branch Russian Academy of SciencesIrkutskRussia
  4. 4.Mongolian Benthological SocietyUlaanbaatarMongolia
  5. 5.Center for Northeast Asian StudiesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  6. 6.Department of Forest Science, Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversityHokkaidoJapan

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