Life-history features and oceanography drive phylogeographic patterns of the chiton Acanthochitona cf. rubrolineata (Lischke, 1873) in the northwestern Pacific

Gang Ni, Taeho Kim, Youngheon Shin, Jina Park, Yucheol Lee, Hyun Jong Kil, Joong Ki Park

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5 Scopus citations


Chitons are a group of marine mollusks (class Polyplacophora) characterized by having eight articulating shell plates on their dorsal body surface. They represent suitable materials for studying the spatiotemporal processes that underlie population differentiation and speciation in ocean environments. Here we performed population genetic analyses on the northwestern Pacific chiton Acanthochitona cf. rubrolineata (Lischke, 1873) using two mitochondrial gene fragments (COI and 16S) from 180 individuals sampled from 11 populations among the coastal waters of Korea, Japan, and China. The phylogenetic network uncovered a reticulated relationship with several sub- haplogroups for all A. cf. rubrolineata haplotypes. SAMOVAanalyses suggested the best grouping occurred at three groups (ΦCT D0:151, P <0:0001), which geographically corresponds to hydrographic discontinuity among the coastal regions of Korea, Japan, and China. The assumed limited dispersal ability of A. cf. rubrolineata, coupled with northeasterly flowing, trifurcate warm currents, might have contributed to the genetic differentiation among the three groups. Meanwhile, a high level of within-group genetic homogeneity was detected, indicating extensive coastal currents might facilitate gene flow among the populations within each group. Bayesian skyline plots demonstrated significant population expansion after the Last Glacial Period (110-25 thousand years ago) for all studied populations except the Japan group. Together these results suggest that the present-day phylogeographic patterns of A. cf. rubrolineata are strongly affected by the interplay of historical and/or contemporary oceanography and species-specific life-history features.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8794
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Biological Resources (NIBR) funded by the Ministry of Environment (ME) of the Republic of Korea (NIBR201902118) and the Marine Biotechnology Program of the Korea Institute of Marine Science and Technology Promotion (KIMST) funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) (Nos. 20170431, 20170488). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Ni et al.


  • Acanthochitona
  • Limited gene flow
  • Marine phylogeography
  • Northwestern Pacific
  • Polyplacophora


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