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    Oribatid mites are important decomposers of dead organic matter in soils across the world. Their origin dates back at least 380 Mya. Multiple severe climatic changes during Late Pliocene and Pleistocene shaped the migration patterns of these organisms and should be reflected in the genetic variability of their current populations. In this study, we examined the genetic diversity and phylogeographic structure as well as the evolutionary history of populations of two ecologically different oribatid mite species. Pantelozetes cavaticus is a troglophile oribatid mite known mainly from Central European caves, whereas Pantelozetes paolii is a common surface eurytopic species with Holarctic distribution. We used two molecular markers-mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and the nuclear D3 region of the 28S rDNA gene-to reveal phylogenetic relationships between contemporary populations. Whereas the D3 region showed minimal or no variability within populations, COI appeared to be a relevant marker for population studies. Phylogeographic analysis based on COI detected two lineages of P. cavaticus ('Czech' and 'Slovak'), which separated during the Late Pliocene (2.9 Mya) and revealed the existence of one new species. In contrast, three identified genetic lineages of P. paolii (radiation time 2.9 and 1.2 Mya, respectively) uncovered in this study were found to coexist in the distant sampling localities, suggesting a connection between populations even over long distances.


    Petra Kokořová, Martina Žurovcová, Peter Ľuptáčik, Josef Starý. Distinct phylogeographic patterns in populations of two oribatid mite species from the genus Pantelozetes (Acari, Oribatida, Thyrisomidae) in Central Europe. Experimental & applied acarology. 2021 Apr;83(4):493-511

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    PMID: 33813665

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