Efforts for the conservation of the endangered bat species Hipposideros turpis turpis in southern Japan are hampered by a lack of information about its biology and natural history and by the increasing effect of human activities. In an attempt to address some of the conservation challenges faced by this species, we studied the genetic structure and dispersal of intra- and interisland populations using six species-specific microsatellite markers. In particular, we sought to establish the relationship between island populations and to define effective management units for conservation. Pairwise co-ancestry index (F ST) analysis, analysis of molecular variance, and Bayesian clustering suggested the presence of significant genetic differentiation between islands but little differentiation within them. The small Yonaguni Island population appeared to be not only geographically isolated, but also genetically isolated. This population is at the greatest risk of extinction, considering its size and low genetic variation. The larger populations on Iriomote and Ishigaki Islands are genetically related to each other to a greater degree and exhibit higher genetic variation than the Yonaguni Island population. This suggests that these two island populations should be included in a single management unit, while bats from Yonaguni Island should be managed independently and given higher priority for conservation. Actions such as defining vegetation corridors between colonies, as well as building gates at the entrance of the largest known colony, should be included in the conservation agenda of this still poorly known species.
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