Population genetics of three at-risk tiger beetles Habroscelimorpha dorsalis dorsalis, H. d. media, and Ellipsoptera puritana
Many tiger beetles (Family Cicindelidae) are critically imperiled due to their dependence on small patches of suitable habitat that are frequently threatened by natural and anthropogenic disturbances. In the eastern United States, conservation of three tiger beetles - Habroscelimorpha dorsalis dorsalis, H. dorsalis media, and Ellipsoptera puritana - has been inhibited by the absence of population genetic information that is needed for effective recovery planning and potential reintroductions. Using microsatellite panels, we performed population genetic analyses and compared patterns in diversity and differentiation within and between taxa. Nearly all collections of the three taxa had less observed heterozygosity than expected under Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium, and there was a strong latitudinal gradient in genetic diversity in H. d. dorsalis distributed along the eastern and western shores of the Chesapeake Bay. We also found clear spatial patterns of genetic differentiation which reflected strong isolation-by-distance within all three taxa and between collections of H. d. dorsalis and H. d. media. However, there was evidence of admixture in current (mouth of the Chesapeake Bay) and former (coastal New Jersey) contact zones of H. d. dorsalis and H. d. media. Taken together, our study suggests that relatively few adult tiger beetles may maintain many populations, and that gene flow among nearby habitat patches is common in all three taxa – a characteristic that may help tiger beetles persist in dynamic coastal environments. Results of our analyses can be used to support conservation and management by identifying the spatial scale of metapopulation connectivity and locating populations at the greatest risk of extirpation.
|Population genetics of three at-risk tiger beetles Habroscelimorpha dorsalis dorsalis, H. d. media, and Ellipsoptera puritana
|David C. Kazyak, Aaron Aunins, Shannon L. White, Michael S. Eackles, C. Barry Knisley
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Eastern Ecological Science Center