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      Mopla guttata (Acrididae: Catantopinae) rediscovered in the Western Ghats, Kerala, India

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      Journal of Orthoptera Research

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The endemic Catantopinae genus Mopla was described by Henry in 1940 from the Malabar region of South India. Henry described two species under this genus, M. guttata and M. rubra. The female type specimens of Mopla are deposited in the Natural History Museum, London, UK. There have been no further records of these two species since their description. Seventy-six years later, the first male specimen of the genus Mopla was discovered in the Western Ghats, Kerala, India, in 2016. This paper describes the specimen, thought to be of Mopla guttata, and reconsiders its systematic placement.

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          Population differentiation within and among Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) populations in southern India.

          Southern India, one of the last strongholds of the endangered Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), harbours about one-fifth of the global population. We present here the first population genetic study of free-ranging Asian elephants, examining within- and among-population differentiation by analysing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear microsatellite DNA differentiation across the Nilgiris-Eastern Ghats, Anamalai, and Periyar elephant reserves of southern India. Low mtDNA diversity and 'normal' microsatellite diversity were observed. Surprisingly, the Nilgiri population, which is the world's single largest Asian elephant population, had only one mtDNA haplotype and lower microsatellite diversity than the two other smaller populations examined. There was almost no mtDNA or microsatellite differentiation among localities within the Nilgiris, an area of about 15,000 km2. This suggests extensive gene flow in the past, which is compatible with the home ranges of several hundred square kilometres of elephants in southern India. Conversely, the Nilgiri population is genetically distinct at both mitochondrial and microsatellite markers from the two more southerly populations, Anamalai and Periyar, which in turn are not genetically differentiated from each other. The more southerly populations are separated from the Nilgiris by only a 40-km-wide stretch across a gap in the Western Ghats mountain range. These results variably indicate the importance of population bottlenecks, social organization, and biogeographic barriers in shaping the distribution of genetic variation among Asian elephant populations in southern India.
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            Ancient Geographical Gaps and Paleo-Climate Shape the Phylogeography of an Endemic Bird in the Sky Islands of Southern India

            Background Sky islands, formed by the highest reaches of mountain tracts physically isolated from one another, represent one of the biodiversity-rich regions of the world. Comparative studies of geographically isolated populations on such islands can provide valuable insights into the biogeography and evolution of species on these islands. The Western Ghats mountains of southern India form a sky island system, where the relationship between the island structure and the evolution of its species remains virtually unknown despite a few population genetic studies. Methods and Principal Findings We investigated how ancient geographic gaps and glacial cycles have partitioned genetic variation in modern populations of a threatened endemic bird, the White-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx major, across the montane Shola forests on these islands and also inferred its evolutionary history. We used Bayesian and maximum likelihood-based phylogenetic and population-genetic analyses on data from three mitochondrial markers and one nuclear marker (totally 2594 bp) obtained from 33 White-bellied Shortwing individuals across five islands. Genetic differentiation between populations of the species correlated with the locations of deep valleys in the Western Ghats but not with geographical distance between these populations. All populations revealed demographic histories consistent with population founding and expansion during the Last Glacial Maximum. Given the level of genetic differentiation north and south of the Palghat Gap, we suggest that these populations be considered two different taxonomic species. Conclusions and Significance Our results show that the physiography and paleo-climate of this region historically resulted in multiple glacial refugia that may have subsequently driven the evolutionary history and current population structure of this bird. The first avian genetic study from this biodiversity hotspot, our results provide insights into processes that may have impacted the speciation and evolution of the endemic fauna of this region.
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              Glaciations, gradients, and geography: multiple drivers of diversification of bush frogs in the Western Ghats Escarpment

              The historical processes underlying high diversity in tropical biodiversity hotspots like the Western Ghats of Peninsular India remain poorly understood. We sampled bush frogs on 13 massifs across the Western Ghats Escarpment and examined the relative influence of Quaternary glaciations, ecological gradients and geological processes on the spatial patterns of lineage and clade diversification. The results reveal a large in situ radiation (more than 60 lineages), exhibiting geographical structure and clade-level endemism, with two deeply divergent sister clades, North and South, highlighting the biogeographic significance of an ancient valley, the Palghat Gap. A majority of the bush frog sister lineages were isolated on adjacent massifs, and signatures of range stasis provide support for the dominance of geological processes in allopatric speciation. In situ diversification events within the montane zones (more than 1800 m) of the two highest massifs suggest a role for climate-mediated forest-grassland persistence. Independent transitions along elevational gradients among sub-clades during the Miocene point to diversification along the elevational gradient. The study highlights the evolutionary significance of massifs in the Western Ghats with the high elevations acting as centres of lineage diversification and the low- and mid-elevations of the southern regions, with deeply divergent lineages, serving as museums.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Orthoptera Research
                JOR
                Pensoft Publishers
                1937-2426
                1082-6467
                January 10 2020
                January 10 2020
                : 29
                : 1
                : 17-23
                Article
                10.3897/jor.29.35664
                © 2020

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