Genetic divergence in the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus), a widely distributed invasive species

Authors

  • CARL-GUSTAF THULIN,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, 569 Dabney Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA,
    2. Department of Animal Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden,
    3. Population Biology and Conservation Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, EBC, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden,
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  • DANIEL SIMBERLOFF,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, 569 Dabney Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA,
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  • ARIJANA BARUN,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, 569 Dabney Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA,
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  • GARY MCCRACKEN,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, 569 Dabney Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA,
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  • MICHEL PASCAL,

    1. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Station SCRIBE, Campus de Beaulieu, 35 042 Rennes Cedex, France,
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  • M. ANWARUL ISLAM

    1. Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh
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Carl-Gustaf Thulin, Fax: +46 (0) 18 471 64 24; E-mail: carl-gustaf.thulin@ebc.uu.se

Abstract

The combination of founder events, random drift and new selective forces experienced by introduced species typically lowers genetic variation and induces differentiation from the ancestral population. Here, we investigate microsatellite differentiation between introduced and native populations of the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus). Many expectations based on introduction history, such as loss of alleles and relationships among populations, are confirmed. Nevertheless, when applying population assignment methods to our data, we observe a few specimens that are incorrectly assigned and/or appear to have a mixed ancestry, despite estimates of substantial population differentiation. Thus, we suggest that population assignments of individuals should be viewed as tentative and that there should be agreement among different algorithms before assignments are applied in conservation or management. Further, we find no congruence between previously reported morphological differentiation and the sorting of microsatellite variation. Some introduced populations have retained much genetic variation while others have not, irrespective of morphology. Finally, we find alleles from the sympatric grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii) in one small Indian mongoose within the native range, suggesting an alternative explanation for morphological differentiation involving a shift in female preferences in allopatry.

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