Comparing patterns of geographic variation in cave crickets by combining geostatistic methods and Mantel tests


Valerio Sbordoni Department of Biology, Tor Vergata University, via della Ricerca Scientifica, 00133 Roma, Italy


Geographic variation patterns of biological characters and environmental variables are compared by using a procedure employing multivariate analyses, production of contour maps by the kriging method with enclosed validation of estimates, and Mantel tests to assess the significance of comparisons. As biological material we chose a sample of Dolichopoda cave crickets populations from Central-Southern Italy. The kriging technique provides estimates of the interpolation error for each true and estimated point. This profitable feature offers the opportunity to use, with ascertained levels of confidence, the estimated z-scores for further analysis and to compare data collected within the same area, but not exactly coincident in location or number. In such a way, we were able to use for subsequent comparisons by means of Mantel tests the maximum number of data points for all data sets, which originally differed in sampling sites. The interpretation of the contour maps and their statistical comparison suggested that allozymes and epiphallus shape data sets follow the phylogenetic pathways within the Dolichopoda populations, whereas variation in leg elongation is almost entirely under the control of an environmental gradient, synthetically described by the cave temperature.