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Historical divergence of mechanical isolation agents in the ground beetle Carabus arrowianus as revealed by phylogeographical analyses


Nobuaki Nagata, Fax: +81 75 7534100; E-mail:


In the carabid genus Carabus subgenus Ohomopterus, diverged body size and genital morphology serve as mechanical reproductive barriers. To elucidate the diverging process of body and genital sizes in Carabus arrowianus, which exhibits marked morphological diversity among geographical populations and may represent an early stage of speciation, we analysed a mitochondrial gene sequence for 1051 individuals from 63 populations and male morphology for 359 individuals from 47 populations. Two discrete morphological groups segregated by geographical barriers were distinguished, one of which possessed smaller bodies and shorter genitalia (S group) than the other (L group), which exhibited larger bodies and exaggerated genitalia. Genetic divergence between the two groups was significant but not large. Phylogeographical and population genetic analyses indicated that the L group was derived from the S group, and a coalescent simulation revealed that the two groups diverged during the latest middle Pleistocene (0.13 million years ago), with a much larger effective population size in the L group than the S group. Because the body size divergence could not be explained by adaptation to climatic conditions and genital morphology is considered to be subject to sexual selection, we postulated that a population division and colonization in favourable habitats caused by the Pleistocene climatic and geographical change might facilitate natural and sexual selection for enlarged body and genital sizes in the L group.

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