The Timarcha goettingensis complex is a monophyletic assemblage of closely related leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae), distributed from the north half of the Iberian Peninsula to Central Europe. Oligophagy, mountainous habitat and apterism are factors which are assumed to promote speciation in these beetles. We have used cytochrome oxidase subunit II mitochondrial DNA genealogies obtained from 31 sampling localities and a nested geographical distance analysis to assess the population structure and demographic factors explaining the geographical distributions of the mtDNA haplotypes in the T. goettingensis complex. The results show that there is a significant association between genetic structuring and geography. Inferences about the historical population processes in the species complex are discussed, being in general in accordance with contiguous range expansions and past fragmentations. The use of the cohesion species concept approach suggests the existence of several systematic ranks among the different T. goettingensis populations, which is in part supported by ecological traits such as trophic selection and altitudinal distribution.
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