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Effects of habitat fragmentation on the genetic diversity and differentiation of Dendrolimus punctatus (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) in Thousand Island Lake, China, based on mitochondrial COI gene sequences

  • K. Lv (a1), J.-R. Wang (a1), T.-Q. Li (a1), J. Zhou (a1), J.-Q. Gu (a2), G.-X. Zhou (a1) and Z.-H. Xu (a1)...


Thousand Island Lake (TIL) is a typical fragmented landscape and an ideal model to study ecological effects of fragmentation. Partial fragments of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene of 23 island populations of Dendrolimus punctatus in TIL were sequenced, 141 haplotypes being identified. The number of haplotypes increased significantly with the increase in island area and shape index, whereas no significant correlation was detected between three island attributes (area, shape and isolation) and haplotype diversity. However, the correlation with number of haplotypes was no longer significant when the ‘outlier’ island JSD (the largest island) was not included. Additionally, we found no significant relationship between geographic distance and genetic distance. Geographic isolation did not obstruct the gene flow among D. punctatus populations, which might be because of the high dispersal capacity of this pine moth. Fragmentation resulted in the conversion of large and continuous habitats into isolated, small and insular patches, which was the primary effect on the genetic diversity of D. punctatus in TIL. The conclusion to emphasize from our research is that habitat fragmentation reduced the biological genetic diversity to some extent, further demonstrating the importance of habitat continuity in biodiversity protection.


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