Ecological and historical drivers of diversification in the fly genus Chiastocheta Pokorny.

  • publication
  • 22-02-2012

Espíndola A, Buerki S, Alvarez N. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 2012 May;63(2):466-74. S1055-7903(12)00035-8. 10.1016/j.ympev.2012.01.018.

Coevolution is among the main forces shaping the biodiversity on Earth. In Eurasia, one of the best-known plant-insect interactions showing highly coevolved features involves the fly genus Chiastocheta and its host-plant Trollius. Although this system has been widely studied from an ecological point of view, the phylogenetic relationships and biogeographic history of the flies have remained little investigated. In this integrative study, we aim to test the monophyly of the five Chiastocheta eco-morphological groups, defined by Pellmyr in 1992, by inferring a mitochondrial phylogeny. We further apply a new approach to assess the effect of (i) different molecular substitution rates and (ii) phylogenetic uncertainty on the inference of the spatio-temporal evolution of the group. From a taxonomic point of view, we demonstrate that only two of Pellmyr's groups (rotundiventris and dentifera) are phylogenetically supported, the other species appearing para- or polyphyletic. We also identify the position of C. lophota, which was not included in previous surveys. From a spatio-temporal perspective, we show that the genus arose during the Pliocene in Europe. Our results also indicate that at least four large-scale dispersal events are required to explain the current distribution of Chiastocheta. Moreover, each dispersal to or from Asia is associated with a host-shift and seems to correspond to an increase in speciation rates. Finally, we highlight the correlation between diversification and climatic fluctuations, which indicate that the cycles of global cooling over the last million years had an influence on the radiation of the group.

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