The Apennines as cryptic Pleistocene refugium of the bark beetle Pityogenes chalcographus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)
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The Apennine Mountains in Italy are an important biogeographical region and of particular interest in phylogeographical research, because they have been a refugium during Pleistocene glaciation events for numerous European species. We performed a genetic study on the Eurasian bark beetle Pityogenes chalcographus (Linnaeus, 1760), focusing on two Apennine (Italian) and two Central European (Austrian) locations to assess the influence of the Apennines in the evolutionary history of the beetle, particularly during the Pleistocene. We analysed a part of the mitochondrial COI gene and a set of 5470 informative genome-wide markers to understand its biogeography. We found 75 distinct mitochondrial haplotypes, which are structured in three main clades. In general, the Apennine locations harbour a higher number of mitochondrial clades than Central European sites, with one specific clade exclusively detected in the Apennines. Analysis of our genome-wide, multi-locus dataset reveals a clustering of P. chalcographus by geography, with Italian individuals clearly separated from Austrian samples. Our data highlight the significance of the Apennines for the genetic diversity of P. chalcographus and support the hypothesis that this area was an important refugium during unfavourable conditions in the Pleistocene. We discuss additional life-history traits and processes that shaped the evolution of this widespread beetle.