Phylogeography of the endangered beetle Rosalia alpina corresponds with its main host, the European beech
Our paper published in Journal of Biogeography illustrates how the population genetic structure of the phytophage is shaped by its close relationship to main host.
Image description: Cover image of Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 45 (12): The Rosalia longicorn(Rosalia alpina). Author: David Hauck.
The Rosalia longicorn (Rosalia alpina) is an internationally protected icon of biodiversity associated with old trees and dead wood. Although the beetle regularly exploits a wide range of different hosts, its preferred main host is European beech (Fagus sylvatica). Moreover, the geographical ranges of the beetle and beech closely overlap. To assess whether their spatial association is mirrored in the genetic patterns of both species, we investigated the phylogeography of Rosalia alpina over its entire geographical range and compared it with the known genetic patterns of its hosts. Using different molecular markers (mitochondrial and nuclear DNA), we analysed 444 individuals from 30 sites. Our results suggested the existence of five major clades in R. alpina populations indicating at least four potential refugia for the beetle located in the southernmost parts of its geographical range. The most important refugium with the highest genetic diversity was located in the mountains of SW Balkan. It is likely that this area acted as the only source for postglacial recolonization of most of Europe and western Asia. The observed genetic patterns of the beetle were largely congruent with those of European beech. Both species have thus a close and long‐lasting relationship probably due to their shared ecological requirements for climatic or habitat conditions.
Drag L., Hauck D., Říčan O., Schmitt T., Shovkoon F.D., Godunko R. J., Curletti G., Čížek L. (2018) Phylogeography of the endangered saproxylic beetle Rosalia longicorn, Rosalia alpina (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae), corresponds with its main host, the European beech (Fagus sylvatica, Fagaceae). Journal of Biogeography, in press. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13429