The segmented trapdoor spiders (Liphistiidae) are the sole surviving family of the suborder Mesothelae, which forms the sister lineage to all other living spiders. Liphistiids have retained a number of plesiomorphic traits and their present-day distribution is limited to East and Southeast Asia. Studying this group has the potential to shed light on the deep evolutionary history of spiders, but the phylogeny and divergence times of the family have not been resolved with confidence. We performed phylogenomic and molecular dating analyses of 2765 ultraconserved element loci from 185 liphistiid taxa. Our analyses show that the crown group of Liphistiidae appeared in the mid-Cretaceous at 102 Ma (95% credibility interval 92-113 Ma), but it was not until the Neogene that much of the diversification within the family occurred in mainland Southeast and East Asia. This diversification was coincident with tectonic events such as the extension of the East Asian continental margin, as well as geological upheavals in Indochina induced by the collision between India and Asia. Our study highlights the important role of major tectonic events in shaping the evolutionary history, present-day diversity, and geographical distribution of mesothele and liphistiid spiders. [biogeography; concatenation; Liphistiidae; molecular dating; summary coalescent; UCEs.].
We present a 517-gene phylogenetic framework for the breadfruit genus Artocarpus (ca. 70 spp., Moraceae), making use of silica-dried leaves from recent fieldwork and herbarium specimens (some up to 106 years old) to achieve 96% taxon sampling. We explore issues relating to assembly, paralogous loci, partitions, and analysis method to reconstruct a phylogeny that is robust to variation in data and available tools. While codon partitioning did not result in any substantial topological differences, the inclusion of flanking non-coding sequence in analyses significantly increased the resolution of gene trees. We also found that increasing the size of datasets increased convergence between analysis methods but did not reduce gene tree conflict. We optimized the HybPiper targeted-enrichment sequence assembly pipeline for short sequences derived from degraded DNA extracted from museum specimens. While the subgenera of Artocarpus were monophyletic, revision is required at finer scales, particularly with respect to widespread species. We expect our results to provide a basis for further studies in Artocarpus and provide guidelines for future analyses of datasets based on target enrichment data, particularly those using sequences from both fresh and museum material, counseling careful attention to the potential of off-target sequences to improve resolution.
Phylogenetic comparisons of the different mammalian genetic transmission elements (mtDNA, X-, Y-, and autosomal DNA) is a powerful approach for understanding the process of speciation in nature. Through such comparisons the unique inheritance pathways of each genetic element and gender-biased processes can link genomic structure to the evolutionary process, especially among lineages which have recently diversified, in which genetic isolation may be incomplete. Bulldog bats of the genus Noctilio are an exemplar lineage, being a young clade, widely distributed, and exhibiting unique feeding ecologies. In addition, currently recognized species are paraphyletic with respect to the mtDNA gene tree and contain morphologically identifiable clades that exhibit mtDNA divergences as great as among many species. To test taxonomic hypotheses and understand the contribution of hybridization to the extant distribution of genetic diversity in Noctilio, we used phylogenetic, coalescent stochastic modeling, and divergence time estimates using sequence data from cytochrome-b, cytochrome c oxidase-I, zinc finger Y, and zinc finger X, as well as evolutionary reconstructions based on amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) data. No evidence of ongoing hybridization between the two currently recognized species was identified. However, signatures of an ancient mtDNA capture were recovered in which an mtDNA lineage of one species was captured early in the noctilionid radiation. Among subspecific mtDNA clades, which were generally coincident with morphology and statistically definable as species, signatures of ongoing hybridization were observed in sex chromosome sequences and AFLP. Divergence dating of genetic elements corroborates the diversification of extant Noctilio beginning about 3 Ma, with ongoing hybridization between mitochondrial lineages separated by 2.5 myr. The timeframe of species' divergence within Noctilio supports the hypothesis that shifts in the dietary strategies of gleaning insects (N. albiventris) or fish (N. leporinus) are among the most rapid instances of dietary evolution observed in mammals. This study illustrates the complex evolutionary dynamics shaping gene pools in nature, how comparisons of genetic elements can serve for understanding species boundaries, and the complex considerations for accurate taxonomic assignment.
Disjunctive distributions across paleotropical regions in the Indian Ocean Basin (IOB) often invoke dispersal/vicariance debates. Exacum (Gentianaceae, tribe Exaceae) species are spread around the IOB, in Africa, Madagascar, Socotra, the Arabian peninsula, Sri Lanka, India, the Himalayas, mainland Southeast Asia including southern China and Malaysia, and northern Australia. The distribution of this genus was suggested to be a typical example of vicariance resulting from the breakup of the Gondwanan supercontinent. The molecular phylogeny of Exacum is in principle congruent with morphological conclusions and shows a pattern that resembles a vicariance scenario with rapid divergence among lineages, but our molecular dating analysis demonstrates that the radiation is too recent to be associated with the Gondwanan continental breakup. We used our dating analysis to test the results of DIVA and found that the program predicted impossible vicariance events. Ancestral area reconstruction suggests that Exacum originated in Madagascar, and divergence dating suggests its origin was not before the Eocene. The Madagascan progenitor, the most recent common ancestor of Exacum, colonized Sri Lanka and southern India via long-distance dispersals. This colonizer underwent an extensive range expansion and spread to Socotra-Arabia, northern India, and mainland Southeast Asia in the northern IOB when it was warm and humid in these regions. This widespread common ancestor retreated subsequently from most parts of these regions and survived in isolation in Socotra-Arabia, southern India-Sri Lanka, and perhaps mainland Southeast Asia, possibly as a consequence of drastic climatic changes, particularly the spreading drought during the Neogene. Secondary diversification from these surviving centers and Madagascar resulted in the extant main lineages of the genus. The vicariance-like pattern shown by the phylogeny appears to have resulted from long-distance dispersals followed by extensive range expansion and subsequent fragmentation. The extant African species E. oldenlandioides is confirmed to be recently dispersed from Madagascar.
Fruit type in the genus Lithocarpus (Fagaceae) includes both classic oak acorns and novel modifications. Bornean taxa with modified fruits can be separated into two sections (Synaedrys and Lithocarpus) based on subtle shape differences. By following strict criteria for homology and representation, this variation in shape can be captured and the sections distinguished by using elliptic Fourier or eigenshape analysis. Phenograms of fruit shape, constructed by using restricted maximum likelihood techniques and these morphometric descriptors, were incorporated into combined and comparative analyses with molecular sequence data from the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear rDNA, using branch-weighted matrix representation. The combined analysis strongly suggested independent derivation of the novel fruit type in the two sections from different acornlike ancestors, while the comparative analysis indicated frequent decoupling between the molecular and morphological changes as inferred at well-supported nodes. The acorn fruit type has undergone little modification between ingroup and outgroup, despite large molecular distance. Greater morphological than molecular change was inferred at critical transitions between acorn and novel fruit types, particularly for section Lithocarpus. The combination of these two different types of data improved our understanding of the macroevolution of fruit type in this difficult group, and the comparative analysis highlighted the significant incongruities in evolutionary pattern between the two datasets.