Journal Article Genetic differentiation in the endangered myrmecophilous butterfly Niphanda fusca: a comparison of natural and secondary habitats

Takeuchi, Tsuyoshi  ,  Takahashi, Junichi  ,  Kiyoshi, Takuya  ,  Nomura, Tetsuro  ,  Tsubaki, Yoshitaka

16 ( 4 )  , pp.979 - 986 , 2015-08 , Springer Netherlands
First online: 05 April 2015
Niphanda fusca is an endangered myrmecophilous butterfly inhabiting environments at early stages of succession. Most of its habitats are places where succession is prevented by human activity. In some places, however, N. fusca lives in natural semi-bare areas, such as cliffs in mountains or grasslands around volcanos. We investigate the genetic structure of N. fusca in Japan and South Korea to address two questions. (1) Are populations in natural environments genetically different from those in secondary environments? and (2) Do populations in natural environments possess greater genetic diversity than those in secondary environments? The AMOVA results indicated that the populations in natural environments and those in secondary environments were differentiated to some extent; however, more than 80 % of genetic variation was found to occur within the same habitat type and within each population. We found no differences in genetic diversity between populations in the two environments. At present, we have not found a strong reason to consider populations in the two environments as different evolutionarily significant units. We think it is practical to conserve populations in natural environments at first, because in this case we need not manage habitats to protect N. fusca. We have only to inhibit habitat destruction. In contrast, in order to conserve populations in secondary environments, we would have to continue managing the habitats. This is far more difficult than inhibiting habitat destruction.

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