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1 October 2015 Genetic Evidence for Recent Spread of Springsnails (Hydrobiidae: Pyrgulopsis) across the Wasatch Divide
Hsiu-Ping Liu, Peter Hovingh, Robert Hershler
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The biogeographic history of aquatic organisms in relation to the Wasatch Mountains divide (which separates the eastern Great Basin and upper Colorado River basin in Utah) has been little studied aside from a large body of work on fishes. Pyrgulopsis kolobensis is a small springsnail that is distributed (in the eastern portion of its range) along the western flanks of the Wasatch Mountains, with a single population occurring just across the Wasatch divide in Strawberry Valley. Here we analyze the genetic structure of this species across the Wasatch divide (using the mtCOI gene) to discriminate between alternative hypotheses that explain this distributional pattern. The 6 P. kolobensis populations that we sampled were resolved as a single, weakly supported and shallowly structured clade in a Bayesian analysis. Specimens from Strawberry Valley shared a unique haplotype and differed from the other populations by 0.3%–0.8% sequence divergence, suggesting a geologically recent split that well postdated the Miocene inception of the Wasatch divide. This result is consistent with a hypothesis (supported by geological evidence) that the Strawberry Valley population became isolated during the late Quaternary as a result of a headwater transfer across the Wasatch divide. Our findings parallel a recent phylogeographic study of regional pebblesnails (Fluminicola coloradensis) and contrast with the prevailing pattern in fishes, which generally do not cross the Wasatch divide. The ability of these 2 snail species to penetrate into upland headwater habitats appears to be the key to their success in crossing the Wasatch (and other) drainage divides.

© 2015
Hsiu-Ping Liu, Peter Hovingh, and Robert Hershler "Genetic Evidence for Recent Spread of Springsnails (Hydrobiidae: Pyrgulopsis) across the Wasatch Divide," Western North American Naturalist 75(3), 325-331, (1 October 2015).
Received: 7 January 2015; Accepted: 1 June 2015; Published: 1 October 2015
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