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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
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  3. Adaptive radiation is an important mechanism of organismal diversification and can be triggered by new ecological opportunities. Although poorly studied in this regard, parasites are an ideal group in which to study adaptive radiations because of their close associations with host species. Both experimental and comparative studies suggest that the ectoparasitic wing lice of pigeons and doves have adaptively radiated, leading to differences in body size and overall coloration. Here, we show that long-distance dispersal by dove hosts was central to parasite diversification because it provided new ecological opportunities for parasites to speciate after host-switching. We further show that among extant parasite lineages host-switching decreased over time, with cospeciation becoming the more dominant mode of parasite speciation. Taken together, our results suggest that host dispersal, followed by host-switching, provided novel ecological opportunities that facilitated adaptive radiation by parasites.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 9, 2023
  4. A new avian chewing louse genus Apomyrsidea gen. nov. is described based on species parasitizing birds in the family Formicariidae. Diagnostic characteristics and phylogenetic analyses were used to evaluate and confirm the generic status and merit its recognition as unique and different from Myrsidea Waterston, 1915. Three species previously belonging to the genus Myrsidea are placed in the new genus Apomyrsidea gen. nov. and are discussed: Apomyrsidea circumsternata (Valim & Weckstein, 2013) gen. et comb. nov., Apomyrsidea isacantha (Valim & Weckstein, 2013) gen. et comb. nov. and Apomyrsidea klimesi (Sychra in Sychra et al., 2006) gen. et comb. nov.
  5. Worldwide decline in biodiversity during the Holocene has impeded a comprehensive understanding of pre-human biodiversity and biogeography. This is especially true on islands, because many recently extinct island taxa were morphologically unique, complicating assessment of their evolutionary relationships using morphology alone. The Caribbean remains an avian hotspot but was more diverse before human arrival in the Holocene. Among the recently extinct lineages is the enigmatic genus Nesotrochis, comprising three flightless species. Based on morphology, Nesotrochis has been considered an aberrant rail (Rallidae) or related to flufftails (Sarothruridae). We recovered a nearly complete mitochondrial genome of Nesotrochis steganinos from fossils, discovering that it is not a rallid but instead is sister to Sarothruridae, volant birds now restricted to Africa and New Guinea, and the recently extinct, flightless Aptornithidae of New Zealand. This result suggests a widespread or highly dispersive most recent common ancestor of the group. Prior to human settlement, the Caribbean avifauna had a far more cosmopolitan origin than is evident from extant species.
  6. Hemipteroid insects (Paraneoptera), with over 10% of all known insect diversity, are a major component of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Previous phylogenetic analyses have not consistently resolved the relationships among major hemipteroid lineages. We provide maximum likelihood-based phylogenomic analyses of a taxonomically comprehensive dataset comprising sequences of 2,395 single-copy, protein-coding genes for 193 samples of hemipteroid insects and outgroups. These analyses yield a well-supported phylogeny for hemipteroid insects. Monophyly of each of the three hemipteroid orders (Psocodea, Thysanoptera, and Hemiptera) is strongly supported, as are most relationships among suborders and families. Thysanoptera (thrips) is strongly supported as sister to Hemiptera. However, as in a recent large-scale analysis sampling all insect orders, trees from our data matrices support Psocodea (bark lice and parasitic lice) as the sister group to the holometabolous insects (those with complete metamorphosis). In contrast, four-cluster likelihood mapping of these data does not support this result. A molecular dating analysis using 23 fossil calibration points suggests hemipteroid insects began diversifying before the Carboniferous, over 365 million years ago. We also explore implications for understanding the timing of diversification, the evolution of morphological traits, and the evolution of mitochondrial genome organization. These results provide a phylogenetic framework for futuremore »studies of the group.

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