Glacial bottleneck and postglacial recolonization of a seed parasitic weevil, Curculio hilgendorfi, inferred from mitochondrial DNA variation


Kyoko Aoki, Fax: +81-75-753-6694; E-mail:


Climatic changes during glacial periods have had a major influence on the recent evolutionary history of living organisms, even in the warm temperate zone. We investigated phylogeographical patterns of a weevil Curculio hilgendorfi (Curculionidae), a host-specific seed predator of Castanopsis (Fagaceae) growing in the broadleaved evergreen forests in Japan. We examined 2709 bp of mitochondrial DNA for 204 individuals collected from 62 populations of the weevil. Four major haplogroups were detected, in southwestern and northeastern parts of the main islands and in central and southern parts of the Ryukyu Islands. The demographic population expansion was detected for the two groups in the main islands but not for the Ryukyu groups. The beginning time of the expansion was dated to 39 000–59 000 years ago, which is consistent with the end of the last glacial period. Our data also demonstrated that the southwestern population of the main islands has experienced a more severe bottleneck and more rapid population growth after glacial ages than the northeastern population. At least three refugial areas in the main islands were likely to have existed during the last glacial periods, one of which had not previously been recognized by analyses of intraspecific chloroplast DNA variation of several plant species growing in the broadleaved evergreen forests. Our results represent the first phylogeographical and population demographic analysis of an insect species associated with the broadleaved evergreen forests in Japan, and reveal more detailed postglacial history of the forests.