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Testing phylogeographic predictions on an active volcanic island: Brachyderes rugatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) on La Palma (Canary Islands)


Brent Emerson, Fax: 44-01603-592250; E-mail:


Volcanic islands with well-characterized geological histories can provide ideal templates for generating and testing phylogeographic predictions. Many studies have sought to utilize these to investigate patterns of colonization and speciation within groups of closely related species across a number of islands. Here we focus attention within a single volcanic island with a well-characterized geological history to develop and test phylogeographic predictions. We develop phylogeographic predictions within the island of La Palma of the Canary Islands and test these using 69 haplotypes from 570 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase II sequence data for 138 individuals of Brachyderes rugatus rugatus, a local endemic subspecies of curculionid beetle occurring throughout the island in the forests of Pinus canariensis. Although geological data do provide some explanatory power for the phylogeographic patterns found, our network-based analyses reveal a more complicated phylogeographic history than initial predictions generated from data on the geological history of the island. Reciprocal illumination of geological and phylogeographic history is also demonstrated with previous geological speculation gaining phylogeographic corroboration from our analyses.