Pleistocene climate cycling and host plant association shaped the demographic history of the bark beetle Pityogenes chalcographus
MetadataShow full item record
Historical climatic oscillations and co-evolutionary dependencies were key evolutionary drivers shaping the current population structure of numerous organisms. Here, we present a genome-wide study on the biogeography of the bark beetle Pityogenes chalcographus, a common and widespread insect in Eurasia. Using Restriction Associated DNA Sequencing, we studied the population structure of this beetle across a wide part of its western Palaearctic range with the goal of elucidating the role of Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycling and its close relationship to its main host plant Norway spruce. Genetic distance among geographic sites was generally low, but clustering analysis revealed three genetically distinct groups, that is, southern, central/south-eastern, and north-eastern locations. Thus, three key P. chalcographus glacial refugia were identified: in the Italian-Dinaric region, the Carpathians, and the Russian plain, shared with its main host. The current phylogeographic signal was affected by genetic divergence among geographically isolated refugia during glacial periods and postglacial re-establishment of genetic exchange through secondary contact, reflected by admixture among genetic groups. Additionally, certain life history traits, like the beetle's dispersal and reproductive behaviour, considerably influenced its demographic history. Our results will help to understand the biogeography of other scolytine beetles, especially species with similar life history traits.