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Genetic structure, phylogeography and demography of two ground-beetle species endemic to the Tenerife laurel forest (Canary Islands)


Carlos Juan. Tel.: +34 97 117 3425; Fax: +34 97 117 3184; E-mail:


The volcanic island of Tenerife (Canary archipelago) was formerly covered at 600–1200 m above sea level on most of its northern side by a cloud forest holding much of the endemic insect fauna. In the most significant surviving patches of this laurel forest at the eastern and western tips of the island occur two forest-specialist, closely related species of Eutrichopus (Coleoptera, Carabidae); here we present data on mitochondrial DNA variation among populations of these species. In total, 116 individuals from 16 localities were sampled and a 638 bp fragment of the cytochrome oxidase subunit II gene was sequenced, obtaining evidence for two distinct evolutionary lineages, in accordance with morphological and biogeographical data. Volcanic events at ~0.7 Ma might be responsible for vicariance and the fragmentation of the geographical range of an ancestral species, causing the establishment of two matrilineal lineages. Using nested clade and historical demography analyses we infer past cycles of demographic bottlenecks followed by population expansion, mostly in agreement with the geological timescale of volcanic events. Recent trends, however, refer to fragmentation of the cloud forest due to human intervention.