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Phylogeography of an Australian termite, Amitermes laurensis (Isoptera, Termitidae), with special reference to the variety of mound shapes


Ozeki, M and Isagi, Y and Tsubota, H and Jacklyn, P and Bowman, DMJS, Phylogeography of an Australian termite, Amitermes laurensis (Isoptera, Termitidae), with special reference to the variety of mound shapes, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 42, (1) pp. 236-247. ISSN 1055-7903 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.06.024


In northern Australia, the debris-feeding termite Amitermes laurensis builds tall, wedge-shaped mounds in the northern part of Cape York Peninsula and Arnhem Land, where their habitats are seasonally flooded, and small dome shaped mounds in the southeastern part of Cape York Peninsula, where their habitats are well-drained. Phylogeographic analyses were conducted in 238 individuals from 30 populations using the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase II (COII) gene. DNA sequences of 50 haplotypes were used to construct NJ, MP and ML trees. Phylogenetic trees for 16 Amitermes species showed monophyly of A. laurensis and the variation of A. laurensis mounds did not strongly correspond to the intraspecific phylogeny. It was observed that mounds with the same shape were constructed by phylogenetically different groups under similar environmental conditions and different mounds shapes were built by phylogenetically closely related groups under the different environmental conditions. Thus, phylogenetically close groups of A. laurensis, in different habitats, may adapt to environmental conditions by constructing different mound shapes. We also investigated the phylogeographic structure of A. laurensis. The significant positive correlation between genetic and geographic distances indicated isolation by distance, reflecting restricted dispersal ability of alates. Although the overall genetic structure of A. laurensis showed isolation by distance, we also identified two exceptions: (i) secondary contacts of genetically divergent lineages in southern Cape York Peninsula, and (ii) low genetic differences between geographically separated populations of Cape York Peninsula and Arnhem Land. Therefore, the phylogeography of A. laurensis may reflect continuous gene flow restricted to short distances and past changes of gene flow associated with the fluctuation of environmental conditions accompanying the changing sea levels in the Quaternary. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:50758
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2008-05-26

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