Publications by Year: 2015

Peñalver E, Arillo A, Pérez-de la Fuente R, Riccio ML, Delclòs X, Barrón E, Grimaldi DA. Long-Proboscid Flies as Pollinators of Cretaceous Gymnosperms. Current Biology [Internet]. 2015;25 (14) :1917–1923. DOIAbstract

The great evolutionary success of angiosperms has traditionally been explained, in part, by the partnership of these plants with insect pollinators [1-6]. The main approach to understanding the origins of this pervasive relationship has been study of the pollinators of living cycads, gnetaleans, and basal angiosperms [7]. Among the most morphologically specialized living pollinators are diverse, long-proboscid flies. Early such flies include the brachyceran family Zhangsolvidae, previously known only as compression fossils from the Early Cretaceous of China and Brazil. It belongs to the infraorder Stratiomyomorpha, a group that includes the flower-visiting families Xylomyidae and Stratiomyidae. New zhangsolvid specimens in amber from Spain (ca. 105 mega-annum [Ma]) and Myanmar (100 Ma) reveal a detailed proboscis structure adapted to nectivory. Pollen clumped on a specimen from Spain is Exesipollenites, attributed to a Mesozoic gymnosperm, most likely the Bennettitales. Late Mesozoic scorpionflies with a long proboscis have been proposed as specialized pollinators of various extinct gymnosperms, but pollen has never been observed on or in their bodies [8]. The new discovery is a very rare co-occurrence of pollen with its insect vector and provides substantiating evidence that other long-proboscid Mesozoic insects were gymnosperm pollinators. Evidence is thus now gathering that visitors and probable pollinators of early anthophytes, or seed plants, involved some insects with highly specialized morphological adaptations, which has consequences for interpreting the reproductive modes of Mesozoic gymnosperms and the significance of insect pollination in angiosperm success.

Laurindo da Silva F, Trivinho-strixino S, Silva Neubern de Oliveira C. Chironomidae types in the reference collection of the Laboratory of Ecology of Aquatic Insects, São Carlos, Brazil. CHIRONOMUS Journal of Chironomidae Research. 2015 :20–29.Abstract

The Chironomidae (Insecta: Diptera) type collection at the Laboratory of Ecology of Aquatic Insects (LEIA - UFSCar) is reviewed. It comprises 103 primary types, as well as 95 paratypes, mostly resulting from research by S. Trivinho-Strixino and G. Strixino. Notes updating the taxonomic status are provided for some species.

Laurindo da Silva F, Wiedenbrug S, Farrell BD. A Preliminary Survey of the Non-biting Midges (Diptera: Chironomidae) of the Dominican Republic. CHIRONOMUS Journal of Chironomidae Research [Internet]. 2015;(28) :12–19. DOI (full text)Abstract

Chironomidae (Diptera) are among the most diverse and widespread aquatic insects, with roughly 5,500 described species. However, prior to the present work, no species of Chironomidae had been documented from the island of Hispaniola. Collections of non-biting midges, with emphasis on the lotic fauna, were made in the Dominican Republic during July of 2015. In total, 578 specimens belonging to 27 genera and at least 44 species within the subfamilies Chironominae (20 taxa), Orthocladiinae (16 taxa) and Tanypodinae (8 taxa) were found. The subfamilies Chironominae and Orthocladiinae predominated. Polypedilum was the most widespread and diverse genus of Chironominae. Metriocnemus were collected in bromeliad tanks. The chironomid fauna in Dominican Republic includes multiple genera with worldwide distributions, including Holarctic and Neotropical components.

DR Non-biting Midges 2015 (PDF)
McKenna DD, Wild AL, Kanda K, Bellamy CL, Beutel RG, Caterino MS, Farnum CW, Hawks DC, Ivie MA, Jameson ML, et al. The beetle tree of life reveals that Coleoptera survived end-Permian mass extinction to diversify during the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution. Systematic Entomology [Internet]. 2015;40 (4) :835-880. DOI (full text)Abstract

Here we present a phylogeny of beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) based on DNA sequence data from eight nuclear genes, including six single-copy nuclear protein-coding genes, for 367 species representing 172 of 183 extant families. Our results refine existing knowledge of relationships among major groups of bee- tles. Strepsiptera was confirmed as sister to Coleoptera and each of the suborders of Coleoptera was recovered as monophyletic. Interrelationships among the subor- ders, namely Polyphaga (Adephaga (Archostemata, Myxophaga)), in our study differ from previous studies. Adephaga comprised two clades corresponding to Hydrade- phaga and Geadephaga. The series and superfamilies of Polyphaga were mostly monophyletic. The traditional Cucujoidea were recovered in three distantly related clades. Lymexyloidea was recovered within Tenebrionoidea. Several of the series and superfamilies of Polyphaga received moderate to maximal clade support in most analyses, for example Buprestoidea, Chrysomeloidea, Coccinelloidea, Cucujiformia, Curculionoidea, Dascilloidea, Elateroidea, Histeroidea and Hydrophiloidea. However, 836 D. D. McKenna et al.
many of the relationships within Polyphaga lacked compatible resolution under maximum-likelihood and Bayesian inference, and/or lacked consistently strong nodal support. Overall, we recovered slightly younger estimated divergence times than pre- vious studies for most groups of beetles. The ordinal split between Coleoptera and Strepsiptera was estimated to have occurred in the Early Permian. Crown Coleoptera appeared in the Late Permian, and only one or two lineages survived the end-Permian mass extinction, with stem group representatives of all four suborders appearing by the end of the Triassic. The basal split in Polyphaga was estimated to have occurred in the Triassic, with the stem groups of most series and superfamilies originating during the Triassic or Jurassic. Most extant families of beetles were estimated to have Creta- ceous origins. Overall, Coleoptera experienced an increase in diversification rate com- pared to the rest of Neuropteroidea. Furthermore, 10 family-level clades, all in suborder Polyphaga, were identified as having experienced significant increases in diversification rate.These include most beetle species with phytophagous habits, but also several groups not typically or primarily associated with plants. Most of these groups originated in the Cretaceous, which is also when a majority of the most species-rich beetle families first appeared. An additional 12 clades showed evidence for significant decreases in diversi- fication rate. These clades are species-poor in theModern fauna, but collectively exhibit diverse trophic habits. The apparent success of beetles, as measured by species numbers, may result from their associations with widespread and diverse substrates – especially plants, but also including fungi, wood and leaf litter – but what facilitated these associ- ations in the first place or has allowed these associations to flourish likely varies within and between lineages.Our results provide a uniquelywell-resolved temporal and phylo- genetic framework for studying patterns of innovation and diversification in Coleoptera, and a foundation for further sampling and resolution of the beetle tree of life.

Kim SI, Farrell BD. Phylogeny of world stag beetles (Coleoptera: Lucanidae) reveals a Gondwanan origin of Darwin’s stag beetle. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution [Internet]. 2015;86 :35-48. DOI (full text)Abstract

Stag beetles (family Lucanidae Latreille, 1804) are one of the earliest branching lineages of scarab beetles that are characterized by the striking development of the male mandibles. Despite stag beetles’ popularity among traditional taxonomists and amateur collectors, there has been almost no study of lucanid relationships and evolution. Entomologists, including Jeannel (1942), have long recognized resemblance between the austral stag beetles of the tribes Chiasognathini, Colophonini, Lamprimini, Pholidotini, Rhyssonotini, and Streptocerini, but this hypothesis of their close relationship across the continents has never been tested. To gain further insight into lucanid phylogeny and biogeography, we reconstructed the first molecular phylogeny of world stag beetles using DNA sequences from mitochondrial 16S rDNA, nuclear 18S and 28S rDNA, and the nuclear protein-coding (NPC) gene wingless for 93 lucanid species representing all extant subfamilies and 24 out of the 27 tribes, together with 14 representative samples of other early branching scarabaeoid families and two staphyliniform beetle families as outgroups. Both Bayesian inference (BI) and maximum likelihood inference (MLI) strongly supported the monophyly of Lucanidae sensu lato that includes Diphyllostomatidae. Within Lucanidae sensu stricto, the subfamilies Lucaninae and Lampriminae appeared monophyletic under both methods of phylogenetic inferences; however, Aesalinae and Syndesinae were found to be polyphyletic. A time-calibrated phylogeny based on five fossil data estimated the origin of crown group Lucanidae as circa 160 million years ago (MYA). Divergence between the Neotropical and Australasian groups of the Chiasognathini was estimated to be circa 47 MYA, with the South African Colophonini branching off from the ancient Chiasognathini lineage around 87 MYA. Another Gondwanan relationship was recovered between the Australasian Eucarteria and the Neotropical Casignetus, which diverged circa 58 MYA. Lastly, as Jeannel’s hypothesis predicted, divergence within Lampriminae between the Australasian Lamprima and the Neotropical Streptocerus was estimated to be circa 37 MYA. The split of these lineages were generally concordant with the pattern of continental break-up of the super-continent Gondwana, and our biogeographic reconstructions based on the dispersal-extinction-cladogenesis model (DEC) corroborate our view that the divergences in these austral lineages were caused by vicariance events following the Gondwanan break-up. In addition, the phylogenetic position and geographic origin of the Hawaiian genus Apterocyclus was revealed for the first time. Overall, our results provide the framework toward studying lucanid relationships and divergence time estimates, which allowed for more accurate biogeographic explanations and discussions on ancestral lucanids and the evolutionary origin of the enlarged male mandibles.

Rykken JJ, Farrell BD. Developing a pollinator monitoring program for Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area: A pilot study. Natural Resource Report NPS/BOHA/NRR—2015/950 [Internet]. 2015. Full text from NPS
Evans AM, McKenna DD, Bellamy CL, Farrell BD. Large-scale molecular phylogeny of metallic wood-boring beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestoidea) provides new insights into relationships and reveals multiple evolutionary origins of the larval leaf-mining habit. Systematic Entomology [Internet]. 2015;40 (2) :385-400. DOI (full text)Abstract

The family Buprestidae (jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring beetles), contains nearly 15000 species in 522 genera. Together with the small family Schizopodidae (seven species, three genera), they form the superfamily Buprestoidea. Adult Buprestoidea feed on flowers or foliage, whereas larvae are mostly internal feeders, boring in roots or stems, or mining the leaves of woody or herbaceous plants. The subfamilial and tribal classification of Buprestoidea remains unsettled, with substantially different schemes proposed by different workers based on morphology. Here we report the first large-scale molecular phylogenetic study of the superfamily Buprestoidea based on data from four genes for 141 ingroup species. We used these data to reconstruct higher-level relationships and to assess the current classification and the origins of the larval leaf-mining habit within Buprestoidea. In our analyses, the monophyly of Buprestoidea was strongly supported, as was the monophyly of Schizopodidae and its placement sister to Buprestidae. Our results are largely consistent with the generally accepted major lineages of buprestoids, including clearly-defined agrilines, buprestines-chrysochroines and early-branching julodines-polycestines. In addition to Schizopodidae, three of the six subfamilies were monophyletic in our study: Agrilinae, Julodinae and the monogeneric Galbellinae (Galbella). Polycestinae was monophyletic with the exception of the enigmatic Haplostethini. Chrysochroinae and Buprestinae were not monophyletic, but were recovered together in a large mixed clade along with Galbella. The interrelationships of Chrysochroinae and Buprestinae were not well resolved; however they were clearly polyphyletic, with chrysochroine genera falling into several different well-supported clades otherwise comprising buprestine genera. All Agrilinae were contained in a single strongly supported clade. Coraebini were dispersed throughout Agrilinae, with strong nodal support for several clades representing subtribes. Neither Agrilini nor Tracheini were monophyletic. The leaf-mining genus Paratrachys (Paratracheini) was recovered within the Acmaeoderioid clade, consistent with the current classification, and confirming the independent origins of leaf-mining within Polycestinae and Agrilinae. Additionally, our results strongly suggest that the leaf-mining agriline tribe Tracheini is polyphyletic, as are several of its constituent subtribes. External root feeding was likely the ancestral larval feeding habit in Buprestoidea. The apparent evolutionary transitions to internal feeding allowed access to a variety of additional plant tissues, including leaves. Interestingly, the several genera of leaf-mining agrilines do not form a monophyletic group. Many of these genera are diverse and highly specialized, possibly indicating adaptive radiations.

McKenna DD, Farrell BD, Caterino MS, Farnum CW, Hawks DC, Maddison DR, Seago AE, Short AEZ, Newton AF, Thayer MK. Phylogeny and evolution of Staphyliniformia and Scarabaeiformia: forest litter as a stepping stone for diversification of nonphytophagous beetles. Systematic Entomology [Internet]. 2015;40 (1) :35-60. DOI (full text)Abstract

The beetle series Staphyliniformia exhibits extraordinary taxonomic, ecological and morphological diversity. To gain further insight into staphyliniform relationships and evolution, we reconstructed the phylogeny of Staphyliniformia using DNA sequences from nuclear 28S rDNA and the nuclear protein-coding gene CAD for 282 species representing all living families and most subfamilies, a representative sample of Scarabaeiformia serving as a near outgroup, and three additional beetles as more distant outgroups. Under both Bayesian inference (BI) and maximum likelihood inference (MLI), the major taxa within Staphyliniformia are each monophyletic: (i) Staphylinoidea, (ii) Hydrophiloidea s.l., and the contained superfamilies (iii) Hydrophiloidea s.s. and (iv) Histeroidea, although Staphylinoidea and Hydrophiloidea s.l. are not strongly supported by MLI bootstrap. Scarabaeiformia is monophyletic under both methods of phylogenetic inference. However, the relative relationships of Staphylinoidea, Hydrophiloidea s.l. and Scarabaeiformia differ between BI and MLI: under BI, Staphyliniformia and Scarabaeiformia were sister groups; under MLI, Hydrophiloidea s.l. and Scarabaeiformia were sister groups and these together were sister to Staphylinoidea. The internal relationships in Scarabaeiformia were similar under both methods of phylogenetic inference, with Cetoniinae, Dynastinae+Rutelinae, Hybosoridae, Passalidae, Scarabaeidae and Scarabaeinae recovered as monophyla. Histeridae comprised two major clades: (1) Abraeinae, Trypanaeine and Trypeticinae; and (2) Chlamydopsinae, Dendrophilinae, Haeteriinae, Histerinae, Onthophilinae, Saprininae and Tribalinae. The relationships among early-divergent Hydrophiloidea differed between BI and MLI, and overall were unresolved or received only moderate to low nodal support. The staphylinoid families Agyrtidae, Hydraenidae and Ptiliidae were recovered as monophyletic; the latter two were sister taxa, and Staphylinidae+Silphidae was also monophyletic. Silphidae was placed within Staphylinidae in close relation to a subset of Tachyporinae. Pselaphinae and Scydmaeninae were both recovered within Staphylinidae, in accordance with recent analyses of morphological characters, although not always with recently proposed sister taxa. None of the four major groups of Staphylinidae proposed by Lawrence and Newton (1982) was recovered as monophyletic. Certain highly specialized staphyliniform habits and morphologies, such as abdominal defensive glands and reduced elytra, have arisen in parallel in separate lineages. Further, our analyses support two major transitions to an aquatic lifestyle within Staphyliniformia: once within Staphylinoidea (Hydraenidae), and once within Hydrophiloidea s.l. (Hydrophiloidea s.s.). On a smaller scale, the most common transition is from litter to subcortical or to periaquatic microhabitats and the next most common is from litter to carrion and to fungi. Overall, transitions to periaquatic microhabitats were the most numerous. The broad picture in Staphyliniformia seems to be a high level of evolutionary plasticity, with multiple possible pathways to and from many microhabitat associations, and litter as a major source microhabitat for diversification. In Scarabaeiformia, the most common transitions were from litter to foliage, with flowers to litter, litter to flowers, and litter to dung being next, and then litter to roots, logs or carrion. Litter is again the largest overall source microhabitat. The most common transitions were to foliage and flowers.It thus seems that the litter environment presents ecological and evolutionary opportunities/challenges that facilitate entry of Staphyliniformia and Scarabaeiformia into new' and different ecological adaptive zones.