Historical domestication-driven population expansion of the dung beetle Gymnopleurus mopsus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) from its last refuge in Mongolia

Ji Hyoun Kang, Chang Seob Lim, Sung Hwan Park, Sang Woo Seok, Tae Joong Yoon, Badamdorj Bayartogtokh, Yeon Jae Bae

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Populations of Gymnopleurus mopsus (family Scarabaeidae), a dung beetle that displays dung-rolling behavior (i.e., a telecoprid), have recently experienced sharp declines, and many populations are now at high risk of local extinction. However, Mongolia, which constitutes a major portion of the species' distribution, still sustains a relatively large population. Here, we used mitochondrial COI sequences to investigate the within-population genetic diversity and both the genetic and phylogeographic structures of 24 G. mopsus populations across the species' main distribution in Mongolia. Several lines of evidence indicated that the phylogeographic structure of G. mopsus had been influenced by a recent and sudden demographic expansion. Interestingly, the expansion of Mongolia's G. mopsus population corresponded to the advent of livestock domestication in the region, and the species' genetic structure coincided with road networks, which presumably serve as migration routes for livestock that might mediate the beetle's dispersal. In addition, we also found that G. mopsus possesses high levels of haplotype diversity, which is generally indicative of large effective population sizes (N e). Overall, the present study contributes to the current understanding of G. mopsus' demographic history and dispersal patterns and also provides valuable information for the species' conservation and management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3963
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1


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