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Mammals of Korea

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The Japanese greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus nippon) is distributed widely in East Asia. Within the species, R. nippon in Northeast Asia is regarded as the lineage that diverged most recently. However, the monophyly of the Japanese populations is unclear due to insufficient data about phylogenetic relationship of the western Japanese populations. To test the monophyly of the Japanese populations of R. nippon, we sampled R. nippon from western Japan and performed a phylogeographic analysis based on mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b and the D-loop. The Northeast Asian lineage consisted of three main clades in eastern Japan (clade I), western Japan (clade II), and the continent as well as the Kumamoto population in westernmost Japan (clade III). The results of this study do not support the monophyly of the Japanese population. The findings suggest the “reverse colonization” of R. nippon from the Japanese Archipelago to the Eurasian continent, and provide important insight into the role of the island system in creation and supply of diversity to the continent.
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