Recent syntheses of phylogeographical data from terrestrial animals in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts have revealed a complex history of geologic and climatic vicariance events. We studied the phylogeography of Smeringurus vachoni to see how vicariance events may have impacted a large, endemic rock scorpion. Additionally, we used the phylogeographical data to examine the validity of two subspecies of S. vachoni that were described using unconventional morphological characters. Phylogenetic, network and SAMOVA analyses indicate that S. vachoni consists of 11 clades mostly endemic to isolated desert mountain ranges. Molecular clock estimates suggest that clades diversified between the Miocene and early Pleistocene. Species distribution models predict a contraction of suitable habitat during the last glacial maximum. Landscape interpolations and Migrate-n analyses highlight areas of gene flow across the Colorado River. Smeringurus vachoni does not comprise two subspecies. Instead, the species represents at least 11 mitochondrial clades that probably diversified by vicariance associated with Pleistocene climate changes and formation of ancient lakes along the Colorado River corridor. Gene flow appears to have occurred from west to east across the Colorado River during periodic river avulsions.
|Title||Ancient lakes, Pleistocene climates and river avulsions structure the phylogeography of a large but little-known rock scorpion from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts|
|Authors||Matthew R. Graham, Dustin A. Wood, Jonathan A. Henault, Zachary J. Valois, Paula E. Cushing|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Biological Journal of the Linnean Society|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Western Ecological Research Center|