We surveyed the genetic diversity and genetic differentiation of an endangered frog, Babina holsti, endemic to Okinawajima and Tokashikijima Islands of the Ryukyus, to elucidate its divergence history and obtain basic data for its conservation. Genetic differentiation between the two island lineages is moderate (3.1% p-distance in the cyt b gene). This result suggests that the two island lineages have been isolated between the late Pliocene and the middle Pleistocene and have never migrated between the current northern part of Okinawajima and Tokashikijima Islands, which were once connected in the late Pleistocene glacial age. On Okinawajima Island, the southernmost sample was constituted by a unique haplotype, without considerable genetic distance from haplotypes detected from northern samples. This unique haplotype composition in the southernmost sample would have resulted from the restricted gene flow between the southernmost population and the other populations in Okinawajima Island. Furthermore, the absence of genetic diversity within the southernmost sample indicates that this population has recently experienced population size reduction, possibly by predation pressure from an introduced mongoose, which is more abundant in the southern part than in the northern part of the island. Lower genetic diversity in the Tokashikijima sample implies a small effective population size for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in B. holsti on the island. Immediate conservation measures should be taken for the populations from the southernmost range in Okinawajima and Tokashikijima.
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Vol. 31 • No. 2