Phylogeographic patterns of some extant plant and vertebrate species have been well studied; however, they are poorly understood in the majority of insects. The study documents analysis of mitochondrial (COI, CYTB and ND5) and nuclear (5.8S rDNA, ITS2 and 28S rDNA) data from 419 individuals of Adelphocoris suturalis, which is one of the main cotton pests found in the 31 locations in China and Japan involved in the study. Results show that the species is highly differentiated between populations from central China and peripheral China regions. Analysis of molecular variance showed a high level of geographical differentiation at different hierarchical levels. Isolation-by-distance test showed no significant correlation between genetic distance and geographical distance among A. suturalis populations, which suggested gene flow is not restricted by distance. In seven peripheral populations, the high levels of genetic differentiation and the small Nem values implied that geographic barriers were more likely restrict gene flow. Neutrality tests and the Bayesian skyline plot suggested population expansion likely happened during the cooling transition between Last Interglacial and Last Glacial Maximum. All lines of evidence suggest that physical barriers, Pleistocene climatic oscillations and geographical heterogeneity have affected the population structure and distribution of this insect in China.
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