Phoenix Group

Evolutionary Ecology & Genetics


Yuta Morii<>

My main interest in evolutionary biology is the divergence and convergence via biological interactions. In particular, I focused on predator-prey interaction between snail-eating ground beetles and land snails in Japan and New Zealand. I am also interested in the citizen science as a powerful tool against an invasive species, the giant garden slug Limax maximus recently introduced to Japan (e.g. Morii et al., 2018, Science of the Total Environment).

I completed my Ph.D with Professor Satoshi Chiba (Tohoku University, Japan) in 2014, and since then have undertaken postdoctoral positions at the Hokkaido University in Japan, and the University of Groningen in Netherlands. I showed the phenotypic divergence and speciation of land snails driven by ground beetles in my doctoral thesis, and published several papers (e.g. Morii et al., 2016, Scientific Reports).

Now, I am a JSPS postdoctoral researcher at Massey University, and my ongoing research topic in New Zealand is "Red Queen Hypothesis as a cause of the co-divergence between predator and prey". I will explore the co-radiation process via evolutionary arms race between endemic arthropods and microsnails in New Zealand, with genetic, morphological and experimental approaches.

Ecological speciation in Hokaido snails.



Morii Y*, Ohkubo Y* & Watanabe S, 2018. Activity of invasive slug Limax maximus in relation to climate conditions based on citizen’s observations and novel regularization based statistical approaches. Science of the Total Environment, 637–638: 1061–1068. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.403.

Saito T*, Prozorova L, Sitnikova T, Surenkhorloo P, Hirano T, Morii Y & Chiba S, 2018. Molecular Phylogeny of glacial relict species: a case of freshwater Valvatidae molluscs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in North and East Asia. Hydrobiologia (opened online).

Richards P, Morii Y, Kimura K, Hirano T, Chiba S & Davison A*, 2017. Single-gene speciation: mating and gene flow between mirror-image snails. Evolution Letters, 1 (6): 282–291. doi:10.1002/evl3.31.

Morii Y* & Wakabayashi H, 2017. Do the native rodents prey on land snails? : An experimental and quantitative study in Hokkaido, Japan. Zoological Science, 34: 275–280. doi:10.2108/zs170018.

Morii Y* & Nakano T, 2017. Citizen science reveals the wpresent range and a potential native predator of the invasive slug Limax maximus Linnæus, 1758 in Hokkaido, Japan. BioInvasions Records, 6: 181–186. doi:10.3391/bir.2017.6.3.01. “Introduced on Asia Research News (Website), Sankei Shimbun (Website), Yahoo News (Website) and some other media”

Morii Y* & Yamakami R, 2017. Terrestrial molluscan fauna at limestone and non-limestone area in Nakatonbetsu-cho (northern Hokkaido, Japan). Edaphologia, 101: 1–6 (in Japanese).

Morii Y* & Komatsu T, 2017. A record of the ant species in the empty shells of land snail in Japan. Japanese Journal of Entomology (New Series), 20: 1–5. (in Japanese).

Morii Y*, Watanabe M & Watanabe Y, 2017. A new record of Mirus andersonianus (Enidae, Pulmonata) at Kitami City, Hokkaido Island, Japan. Bulletin of the Bihoro Museum, 24: 5–8. (in Japanese).

Morii Y* & Machida Y, 2017. The fauna of terrestrial molluscs at Bihoro Town, Hokkaido Island, Japan. Bulletin of the Bihoro Museum, 24: 1–4. (in Japanese).

Morii Y* & Uchida S, 2017. Species identification using DNA barcoding of the terrestrial planarian (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida) in Rishiri Island, northern Hokkaido, Japan. Rishiri Studies, 36: 35–37 (in Japanese).

Morii Y*, Prozorova L & Chiba S, 2016. Parallel evolution of passive and active defence in land snails. Scientific Reports, 6: 35600. doi:10.1038/srep35600. Press release in English and Japanese. “Introduced on National Geographic, New Scientist, Nature (Journal), NHK (TV), TBS (TV) and many other media”

Morii Y*, 2016. A New Record of Ezohelix gainesi (Camaenidae (Bradybaenidae), Pulmonata) at Notsuke Sandspit, eastern Hokkaido, Japan. Bulletin of the Shiretoko Museum, 38: 1–3 (in Japanese).

Morii Y*, 2016. Terrestrial and freshwater molluscan fauna of Rishiri Island, northern Hokkaido, Japan. Rishiri Studies, 35: 35–41 (in Japanese).

Morii Y*, Jin T, Kyono M, Namikawa T, Sasaki K, Takaesu N & Watanabe S, 2016. The distribution of the giant garden slug, Limax maximus (Pulmonata: Limacidae) recently introduced in Hokkaido Island, northern Japan. Chiribotan, 45: 256–261 (in Japanese). “Introduced on Hokkaido Shimbun (Newspaper), UHB (TV) and some other media”

Morii Y*, Yokoyama J, Kawata M, Davison A & Chiba S, 2015. Evidence of introgressive hybridization between the morphologically divergent land snails Ainohelix and Ezohelix. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 115: 77–95. doi:10.1111/bij.12466.

Morii Y* & Uchida S, 2015. The first record of the terrestrial planarian (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida) in Rishiri Island, northern Hokkaido, Japan. Rishiri Studies, 34: 45–47 (in Japanese).

Morii Y*, Sato M & Ogawa N, 2015. The first records of two species of the water scorpions, Ranatra chinensis and Ranatra unicolor (Hemiptera: Nepidae) in Rishiri Island, northern Hokkaido, Japan. Rishiri Studies, 34: 41–43 (in Japanese).

Morii Y*, Sato M & Ogawa N, 2015. The first record of the diving beetle Cybister japonicus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) in Rishiri Island, northern Hokkaido, Japan. Rishiri Studies, 34: 37–39 (in Japanese).

Wang JF, Chen MY, Chaw SM, Morii Y, Yoshimura M, Sota T & Lin CP*, 2014. Complete mitochondrial genome of an enigmatic dragonfly, Epiophlebia superstes (Odonata, Epiophlebiidae). Mitochondrial DNA, 0: 1–2. doi:10.3109/19401736.2013.845756.

Kato Y, Morii Y & Tojo K*, 2013. Molecular phylogeographic analysis of East Asian cryptoperlan stoneflies (Insecta: Plecoptera, Peltoperlidae). Limnology, 14: 179–194. doi:10.1007/s10201-012-0395-3.

Morii Y & Ito T*, 2013. An aberrant female of Vacciniina optilete sibirica (Staudinger, 1892) found at Katangli near Nogliki, northern Sakhalin in 2012 summer. Butterflies (S. fujisanus), 63: 44–45 (in Japanese).

Morii Y*, 2012. A new record of Mirus andersonianus (Enidae, Pulmonata) at Nakatombetsu Town, Hokkaido Island, northern Japan. Molluscan Diversity, 3: 80–82 (in Japanese).

Morii Y & Tojo K*, 2009. Reporting the newly located habitat of a dipteromimid mayfly Dipteromimus flavipterus (Ephemeroptera, Dipteromimidae). New Entomologist, 58: 79–82.

Morii Y & Tojo K*, 2008. Distribution profile of three headwater-specific insects in Shiojiri City. The Bulletin of Shiojiri City Museum of Natural History, 10: 29–35 (in Japanese).

Tanizawa T, Tojo K*, Sueyoshi M, Morii Y, Higuchi A & Yoshida T, 2007. Observing aquatic organisms with children using the school pool: an attempt at a junior high school in Azumino City, Nagano, Japan. New Entomologist, 56: 50–54 (in Japanese).

Eda S* & Morii Y, 2007. The First Record for Nihonogomphus viridis in the Matsumoto Basin, Nagano, Japan. New Entomologist, 56: 7 (in Japanese).



Research links:

Yuta Morii Website,
Research Gate,
Google Citation,