We conduct a phylogeographic and population genetic study of the Asiatic
Toad (Bufo gargarizans) to understand its evolutionary history,
and the influence of geology and climate of the region. A total of 292
individuals from 94 locations were genotyped for two mitochondrial DNA
loci (cytb, ND2 gene) and five nuclear introns
(Sox9-2, Rho-3, CCNB2-3, UCH-2,
DBI-2). We performed a suite of phylogenetic, population genetic,
and divergence dating analyses. The phylogenetic trees constructed using
mitochondrial loci inferred B. gargarizans being divided into two
major groups: West (China mainland) and Northeast (Northeast China,
Russia and Korean Peninsula). As with previous studies of this species,
we recover population genetic structure not tied to geographic region.
Additionally, we discover a new genetic clade restricted to Northeast
Asia that points towards the Korean Peninsula being a glacial refugium
during the Pleistocene. The weak phylogeographic pattern of B.
gargarizans is likely the result of multiple biological, anthropogenic,
and historical—robust dispersal abilities as a consequence of
physiological adaptations, human translocation, geologic activity, and
glacial cycles of the Pleistocene. We highlight the complex geologic and
climatic history of Northeast Asia and encourage further research to
understand its impact on the biodiversity in the region.