Data from: Sky island diversification meets the multispecies coalescent – divergence in the spruce-fir moss spider (Microhexura montivaga, Araneae, Mygalomorphae) on the highest peaks of southern Appalachia
Hedin, Marshal; Carlson, Dave; Coyle, Fred (2015), Data from: Sky island diversification meets the multispecies coalescent – divergence in the spruce-fir moss spider (Microhexura montivaga, Araneae, Mygalomorphae) on the highest peaks of southern Appalachia, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.r87k3
Microhexura montivaga is a miniature tarantula-like spider endemic to the highest peaks of the southern Appalachian mountains and is known only from six allopatric, highly disjunct montane populations. Because of severe declines in spruce-fir forest in the late 20th century, M. montivaga was formally listed as a US federally endangered species in 1995. Using DNA sequence data from one mitochondrial and seven nuclear genes, patterns of multigenic genetic divergence were assessed for six montane populations. Independent mitochondrial and nuclear discovery analyses reveal obvious genetic fragmentation both within and among montane populations, with five to seven primary genetic lineages recovered. Multispecies coalescent validation analyses [guide tree and unguided Bayesian Phylogenetics and Phylogeography (BPP), Bayes factor delimitation (BFD)] using nuclear-only data congruently recover six or seven distinct lineages; BFD analyses using combined nuclear plus mitochondrial data favour seven or eight lineages. In stark contrast to this clear genetic fragmentation, a survey of secondary sexual features for available males indicates morphological conservatism across montane populations. While it is certainly possible that morphologically cryptic speciation has occurred in this taxon, this system may alternatively represent a case where extreme population genetic structuring (but not speciation) leads to an oversplitting of lineage diversity by multispecies coalescent methods. Our results have clear conservation implications for this federally endangered taxon and illustrate a methodological issue expected to become more common as genomic-scale data sets are gathered for taxa found in naturally fragmented habitats.