The darkling beetle Adesmia cancellata Solier, 1835 (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) is considered a dominant arthropod in the Qatari desert as suggested by previous studies. The species is also distributed in the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Israel. The objective of our study is to explore the evolutionary history of this species in Qatar through genetic analysis. We first collected different individuals of A. cancellata in the field from 12 populations distributed across Qatar between February and April 2012. We used partial sequences of the cytochrome oxidase mitochondrial marker (COI) to reveal patterns of genetic structure underlying the geographic distribution of A. cancellata in Qatar, and indirectly, to infer dispersal rates and recent and historical patterns of gene flow between populations. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial sequences of this preliminary study show maximum values of 2% sequence divergence between populations. In order to explain such a low within species genetic diversity we propose the hypothesis hat the current genetic lineage of A. cancellata inhabiting Qatar entered the country quite recently, probably during the late Pleistocene. Since the time of Qatar colonization the species has spread across the country and became a dominant arthropod with respect population density and distribution area. In order to test this hypothesis it would be necessary to extend our analyses to a larger number of populations in Qatar and to compare them with populations outside Qatar throughout the world distribution range of the species.


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