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Title: Biogeography of the Caribbean Cyrtognatha spiders

Island systems provide excellent arenas to test evolutionary hypotheses pertaining to gene flow and diversification of dispersal-limited organisms. Here we focus on an orbweaver spider genusCyrtognatha(Tetragnathidae) from the Caribbean, with the aims to reconstruct its evolutionary history, examine its biogeographic history in the archipelago, and to estimate the timing and route of Caribbean colonization. Specifically, we test ifCyrtognathabiogeographic history is consistent with an ancient vicariant scenario (the GAARlandia landbridge hypothesis) or overwater dispersal. We reconstructed a species level phylogeny based on one mitochondrial (COI) and one nuclear (28S) marker. We then used this topology to constrain a time-calibrated mtDNA phylogeny, for subsequent biogeographical analyses in BioGeoBEARS of over 100 originally sampledCyrtognathaindividuals, using models with and without a founder event parameter. Our results suggest a radiation of CaribbeanCyrtognatha, containing 11 to 14 species that are exclusively single island endemics. Although biogeographic reconstructions cannot refute a vicariant origin of the Caribbean clade, possibly an artifact of sparse outgroup availability, they indicate timing of colonization that is much too recent for GAARlandia to have played a role. Instead, an overwater colonization to the Caribbean in mid-Miocene better explains the data. From Hispaniola,Cyrtognathasubsequently dispersed to, and diversified on, the other islands of the more » Greater, and Lesser Antilles. Within the constraints of our island system and data, a model that omits the founder event parameter from biogeographic analysis is less suitable than the equivalent model with a founder event.

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Publication Date:
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Scientific Reports
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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