Population admixture and high larval viability among urban toads



Kazuko Hase, Department of General Systems Studies, University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan. Tel: +81-3-5454-6794; Fax: +81-3-5454-6998; E-mail: hasekazuko@gmail.com


In terms of evolutionary biology, a population admixture of more than two distinct lineages may lead to strengthened genetic variation through hybridization. However, a population admixture arising from artificial secondary contact poses significant problems in conservation biology. In urban Tokyo, a population admixture has emerged from two lineages of Japanese common toad: native Bufo japonicus formosus and nonnative B. japonicus japonicus, of which the latter was introduced in the early 20th century. To evaluate the degree of genetic disturbance in the admixed population of these two subspecies, we analyzed genotypes of toads distributed within and outside Tokyo by assessing mtDNA and seven microsatellite loci. We found that the introduced B. japonicus japonicus genotype dominates six local populations in the Tokyo admixture zone and was clearly derived from past introgressive hybridization between the two subspecies. These observations were supported by morphological assessments. Furthermore, the average larval survival rate in Tokyo was significantly higher than that outside Tokyo, suggesting that the temporary contribution of introduced toads occurred through introgression. The fitness of toads in urban Tokyo may thus be increasing with the assistance of nonnative individuals.