Genetic structure of wildcat (Felis silvestris) populations in Italy

F. Mattucci, R. Oliveira, L. Bizzarri, F. Vercillo, S. Anile, B. Ragni, L. Lapini, A. Sforzi, P. C. Alves, Leslie A Lyons, E. Randi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Severe climatic changes during the Pleistocene shaped the distributions of temperate-adapted species. These species survived glaciations in classical southern refuges with more temperate climates, as well as in western and eastern peripheral Alpine temperate areas. We hypothesized that the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) populations currently distributed in Italy differentiated in, and expanded from two distinct glacial refuges, located in the southern Apennines and at the periphery of the eastern Alps. This hypothesis was tested by genotyping 235 presumed European wildcats using a panel of 35 domestic cat-derived microsatellites. To provide support and controls for the analyses, 17 know wildcat x domestic cat hybrids and 17 Sardinian wildcats (F. s. libyca) were included. Results of Bayesian clustering and landscape genetic analyses showed that European wildcats in Italy are genetically subdivided into three well-defined clusters corresponding to populations sampled in: (1) the eastern Alps, (2) the peninsular Apennines, and (3) the island of Sicily. Furthermore, the peninsular cluster is split into two subpopulations distributed on the eastern (Apennine mountains and hills) and western (Maremma hills and lowlands) sides of the Apennine ridge. Simulations indicated Alpine, peninsular, and Sicilian wildcats were isolated during the Last Glacial Maximum. Population subdivision in the peninsula cluster of central Italy arose as consequence of a more recent expansions of historically or ecologically distinct European wildcat subpopulations associated with distinct the Continental or Mediterranean habitats. This study identifies previously unknown European wildcat conservation units and supports a deep phylogeographical history for Italian wildcats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2443-2458
Number of pages16
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume3
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Felis
Alps region
subpopulation
refuge
genetic structure
Italy
Last Glacial Maximum
cats
glaciation
Sicily
founder effect
Pleistocene
temperate zones
genotyping
climate change
mountain
lowlands
habitat
history
mountains

Keywords

  • Admixture analysis
  • African wildcat
  • Conservation genetics
  • European wildcat
  • Glacial refuges
  • Hybridization
  • Landscape genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Mattucci, F., Oliveira, R., Bizzarri, L., Vercillo, F., Anile, S., Ragni, B., ... Randi, E. (2013). Genetic structure of wildcat (Felis silvestris) populations in Italy. Ecology and Evolution, 3(8), 2443-2458. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.569

Genetic structure of wildcat (Felis silvestris) populations in Italy. / Mattucci, F.; Oliveira, R.; Bizzarri, L.; Vercillo, F.; Anile, S.; Ragni, B.; Lapini, L.; Sforzi, A.; Alves, P. C.; Lyons, Leslie A; Randi, E.

In: Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 3, No. 8, 2013, p. 2443-2458.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mattucci, F, Oliveira, R, Bizzarri, L, Vercillo, F, Anile, S, Ragni, B, Lapini, L, Sforzi, A, Alves, PC, Lyons, LA & Randi, E 2013, 'Genetic structure of wildcat (Felis silvestris) populations in Italy', Ecology and Evolution, vol. 3, no. 8, pp. 2443-2458. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.569
Mattucci F, Oliveira R, Bizzarri L, Vercillo F, Anile S, Ragni B et al. Genetic structure of wildcat (Felis silvestris) populations in Italy. Ecology and Evolution. 2013;3(8):2443-2458. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.569
Mattucci, F. ; Oliveira, R. ; Bizzarri, L. ; Vercillo, F. ; Anile, S. ; Ragni, B. ; Lapini, L. ; Sforzi, A. ; Alves, P. C. ; Lyons, Leslie A ; Randi, E. / Genetic structure of wildcat (Felis silvestris) populations in Italy. In: Ecology and Evolution. 2013 ; Vol. 3, No. 8. pp. 2443-2458.
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AU - Ragni, B.

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