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Older than New Caledonia emergence? A molecular phylogenetic study of the eneopterine crickets (Orthoptera: Grylloidea)

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Aim  A New Caledonian insect group was studied in a world‐wide phylogenetic context to test: (1) whether local or regional island clades are older than 37 Ma, the postulated re‐emergence time of New Caledonia; (2) whether these clades show evidence for local radiations or multiple colonizations; and (3) whether there is evidence for relict taxa with long branches in phylogenetic trees that relate New Caledonian species to geographically distant taxa.

Location  New Caledonia, south‐west Pacific.

Methods  We sampled 43 cricket species representing all tribes of the subfamily Eneopterinae and 15 of the 17 described genera, focusing on taxa distributed in the South Pacific and around New Caledonia. One nuclear and three mitochondrial genes were analysed using Bayesian and parsimony methods. Phylogenetic divergence times were estimated using a relaxed clock method and several calibration criteria.

Results  The analyses indicate that, under the most conservative dating scenario, New Caledonian eneopterines are 5–16 million years old. The largest group in the Pacific region dates to 18–29 Ma. New Caledonia has been colonized in two phases: the first around 10.6 Ma, with the subsequent diversification of the endemic genus Agnotecous, and the second with more recent events around 1–4 Ma. The distribution of the sister group of Agnotecous and the lack of phylogenetic long branches in the genus refute an assumption of major extinction events in this clade and the hypothesis of local relicts.

Main conclusions  Our phylogenetic studies invalidate a simple scenario of local persistence of this group in New Caledonia since 80 Ma, either by survival on the New Caledonian island since its rift from Australia, or, if one accepts the submergence of New Caledonia, by local island‐hopping among other subaerial islands, now drowned, in the region during periods of New Caledonian submergence.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Département Systématique et Evolution, UMR 7205 CNRS OSEB, Case postale 50 (Entomologie), 57 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France 2: Genoscope, Centre national de Séquençage, 2 rue Gaston Crémieux, Case postale 5706, 91057 Evry Cedex, France

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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