The tailed frog (Ascaphus truei) is highly philopatric, with naturally disjunct populations. To infer the historical pattern of range expansion and contraction in A. truei of British Columbia (B.C.), we conducted a randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) survey, using 16 primers, of 469 individuals sampled from 22 populations in four regions. Genetic distances, based on 169 putative RAPD loci, clustered populations into three clear groups: mid/north-coastal B.C., south-coastal B.C., and interior B.C. The interior populations were the most distinct group, but their genetic distance from other groups equals that expected from isolation by physical distance alone, as opposed to taxonomic differentiation. F(ST) values within coastal regions were moderately low (0.02-0.05) but were high in the interior (0.12) and across all populations (0.18). Within the mid/north-coastal and south-coastal regions, genetic distance showed no relationship with physical distance, while among regions and within the interior region there was a strong relationship. Gene diversity varied significantly among regions, with both the interior and south-coastal populations showing about 25% less diversity than the mid/north-coastal populations. These data indicate a complex history of geographic restrictions to multiple refugia, followed by various types of range expansion. The implications of these results for conservation efforts in this species are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology