Phylogeography of the mole-shrew (Anourosorex yamashinai) in Taiwan: implications of interglacial refugia in a high-elevation small mammal

Authors

  • SHOU-LI YUAN,

    1. Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology, Department of Life Science, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan 407, ROC,
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  • LIANG-KONG LIN,

    1. Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology, Department of Life Science, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan 407, ROC,
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  • TATSUO OSHIDA

    1. Laboratory of Molecular Ecology, Department of Life Science, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan 407, ROC
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    • Present address: Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro 080-8555, Japan


Liang-Kong Lin, Fax: +866-4-23595845; E-mail: lklin@mail.thu.edu.tw

Abstract

To test the Pleistocene interglacial refugia hypothesis with a high-elevation mammal, we studied the phylogeography of the mole-shrew (Anourosorex yamashinai) using partial mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences (737 bases). This shrew is endemic to Taiwan. It is mainly distributed in the highlands from 1000 to 2500 m in elevation. We examined 103 specimens from 24 localities in three mountain ranges of Taiwan and found 36 haplotypes. These haplotypes separated into two major phylogroups (Northern and Southern) plus a minor phylogroup (Houhuan) of only one haplotype. This demonstrated strong association with geography. The formation of these three phylogroups may be the result of interglacial refugia during the middle Pleistocene. Distinct sublineages were not found within each major phylogroup, suggesting that the populations (phylogroups) explosively expanded from the interglacial refugia of ancestral founder haplotypes. The present distribution pattern of haplotypes suggests that Mount Houhuan is an effective refugium in central Taiwan. It was not possible to specify the refugia for the Northern and Southern phylogroups.

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