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Genetic diversity and demographic history of the terrestrial hermit crabs Birgus latroand Coenobita brevimanusin the North-Western Pacific Region

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We evaluated the genetic diversity and demographic history of the terrestrial hermit crabs Birgus latroand Coenobita brevimanususing mtDNA COI sequence data (573 bp). Tissue samples from 163 individuals of B. latroand 63 individuals of C. brevimanuswere collected at 11 and four localities in the North-Western Pacific Region, respectively. Haplotype diversity was high and similar in B. latro(0.8809) and C. brevimanus(0.9222). Nucleotide diversity was higher in C. brevimanus(0.01088) than in B. latro(0.00404). No genealogical structure was observed in haplotypes of B. latrowhereas four haplotype clades were found in C. brevimanus. Weak but significant genetic population structure with the isolation by distance was detected in B. latro, but no genetic population structure was observed in C. brevimanus, likely because of the small number of sampling localities for the latter. Demographic history analyses suggested that B. latroand C. brevimanushad different histories of population expansion. Birgus latroexperienced population expansion once during the glacial period when sea levels were relatively lower in the late Pleistocene. Conversely, it was inferred that haplotype clades of C. brevimanusdiverged during or near the interglacial period when sea levels were relatively higher, and their population expansion and remixing occurred through the glacial periods in the late Pleistocene.

Affiliations: 1: 1Graduate School of Marine Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Konan, Minato, Tokyo 108-8477, Japan; 2: 2Research Centre for Marine Invertebrate, National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland Sea, Fisheries Research Agency, Onomichi, Hiroshima 722-0061, Japan


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