We studied genetic variation within the Japanese land snail Euhadra herklotsi, which occurs on Kyushu and the surrounding islands, using partial sequences of the mitochondrial COI gene and nuclear ITS2 genes. The phylogenetic analysis revealed the existence of two major clades: clade N in the north and clade S in the south. These clades were parapatric and overlapped in southern Kyushu. Genetic divergence was high in clade N, whereas it was much lower in clade S. In addition, isolation-by-distance within each clade was implied. Since no current geographical barriers separate these clades, the genetic structure of clade S might have been influenced by historical events, such as volcanic activity, and a resulting population bottleneck followed by range expansion. The genital characteristics of clade-S snails were distinct from those of clade-N snails, and snails in both clades were sympatric at one locality. The shells of clade-N snails were generally larger than those of clade-S snails, but the shell-size variation within each clade could not be explained simply by environmental variables. Our study suggests that E. herklotsi likely consists of two sibling species. The taxonomic status of the previously proposed subspecies of E. herklotsi and related species requires reassessment.
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