J Syst Evol

• Research Articles •    

Fragmented habitats and Pleistocene climate shaped diversification of the hoary bamboo rat (Rhizomys pruinosus) in the mountainous plateau of SW China

Yong Gao1†, Yue‐Hui Yan1,2†, Si Yin1, Long Yu1, Lei Zhu1, Xue‐Mei Ding1,2, Ya‐Nan Zhang1, Huan‐Huan Chen1, Li‐Jun Tang1, Zhu‐Mei Li1, Hong‐Long Chu1, Xiao‐Dong Shi1, Zheng‐Rong Zou3*, and Li‐Zhou Tang1,3*   

  1. 1 Center for Yunnan Plateau Biological Resources Protection and Utilization, College of Biological Resource and Food Engineering, Qujing Normal University, Qujing 655011, Yunnan, China
    2 College of Forestry, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China
    3 College of Lifesciences, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China
  • Received:2021-10-24 Accepted:2021-12-07 Online:2021-12-18

Abstract:

The southwest mountainous region of China has been characterized as one of the worldwide biodiversity hotspots, but mechanisms underlying diversification of organisms in this region are still not clear. We assessed whether fragmented mountainous habitats and Pleistocene climate changes impacted the genetic diversity and diversification patterns of the hoary bamboo rat (Rhizomys pruinosus Blyth), a widely distributed species of rodent in SW China. Genetic diversity analyses were undertaken based on four mitochondrial DNA regions and 12 nuclear microsatellite loci (simple sequence repeats), representing 153 individuals from 24 populations across SW China. Moreover, we investigated correlations between genotype and geographical components, and predicted species distribution models for R. pruinosus under the historical and present climate conditions. Both mitochondrial DNA and simple sequence repeat markers revealed substantial genetic diversity and strong differentiation between populations. Phylogeographical analyses revealed two phylogenetic clades that were consistent with their geographical distributions (eastern and western clades). We inferred that the divergence of R. pruinosus was largely driven by Quaternary climatic oscillations and regionally fragmented mountainous habitats with environmental and geographical heterogeneity. Overall, our study revealed diversification patterns of R. pruinosus—patterns that may be shared by small alpine vertebrates in SW China.

Key words: Rhizomys pruinosus, genetic diversity, mitochondrial DNA, simple sequence repeat, isolation by distance, biodiversity hot spot