Genetic distance between Nasutitermes takasagoensis (Isoptera: Termitidae) populations in Taiwan and the Yaeyama Islands, analyzed by amplified fragment length polymorphism markers

Authors

  • Julio GARCÍA,

    1. Department of Biology, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Meguro, Tokyo and
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  • Kiyoto MAEKAWA,

    1. Department of Biology, Toyama University, Toyama, Japan
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  • Toru MIURA,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Meguro, Tokyo and
      Dr Toru Miura, Laboratory of Ecology and Genetics, Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0810 Japan. Email: miu@ees.hokudai.ac.jp
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  • Tadao MATSUMOTO

    1. Department of Biology, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Meguro, Tokyo and
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Dr Toru Miura, Laboratory of Ecology and Genetics, Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0810 Japan. Email: miu@ees.hokudai.ac.jp

Abstract

Dispersal ability and degree of inbreeding in a population can indirectly be assessed using genetic markers. It has been suggested that winged termites are not able to fly distances greater than several hundred meters. Using the amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) technique, we previously analyzed the population substructure of Nasutitermes takasagoensis in the Yaeyama Islands, southern Japan. We found that there is moderate subpopulation structure based on the AFLP data. Moreover, the relatively low Gst and genetic distances among insular populations suggest that there is a possibility that winged termites are able to fly over distances of several kilometers. To learn more about this, in the present study, we compared new samples collected from the Hengchuen Peninsula in southern Taiwan with samples previously collected from the Yaeyama Islands. Using the samples collected in Taiwan, genetic distance was calculated against samples from six of the Yaeyama Islands. Genetic diversity, average heterozygosity, percentage of polymorphic loci, Gst and gene flow (Nm) were calculated. A total of 155 AFLP fragments were obtained for three primer combinations used, with 8 (5%) polymorphic bands. Genetic distance between the populations of Taiwan and the rest of the islands was greater than the genetic distance among the Yaeyama Islands. Although previous studies showed that average Nm among the Yaeyama Islands was 2.47, all of the observed Nm between Taiwan and the Yaeyama Islands were below 1. These findings suggest that the geographic distance between Taiwan and the Yaeyama Islands is large enough to prevent gene flow between them.

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