First phylogenetic analysis of Dryophthorinae (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) based on structural alignment of ribosomal DNA reveals Cenozoic diversification


Abstract Dryophthorinae is an economically important, ecologically distinct, and ubiquitous monophyletic group of pantropical weevils with more than 1,200 species in 153 genera. This study provides the first comprehensive phylogeny of the group with the aim to provide insights into the process and timing of diversification of phytophagous insects, inform classification and facilitate predictions. The taxon sampling is the most extensive to date and includes representatives of all five dryophthorine tribes and all but one subtribe. The phylogeny is based on secondary structural alignment of 18S and 28S rRNA totaling 3,764 nucleotides analyzed under Bayesian and maximum likelihood inference. We used a fossil-calibrated relaxed clock model with two approaches, node-dating and fossilized birth-death models, to estimate divergence times for the subfamily. All tribes except the species-rich Rhynchophorini were found to be monophyletic, but higher support is required to ascertain the paraphyly of Rhynchophorini with more confidence. Nephius is closely related to Dryophthorini and Stromboscerini, and there is strong evidence for paraphyly of Sphenophorina. We find a large gap between the divergence of Dryophthorinae from their sister group Platypodinae in the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary and the diversification of extant species in the Cenozoic, highlighting the role of coevolution with angiosperms in this group.

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Last updated on 03/30/2021