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  1. Abstract

    Traits that independently evolve many times are important for testing hypotheses about correlated evolution and understanding the forces shaping biodiversity. However, population genetics processes can cause hemiplasies (traits determined by genes whose topologies do not match the species tree), leading to a false impression of convergence (homoplasy) and potentially misleading inferences of correlated evolution. Discerning between homoplasies and hemiplasies can be important in cases of rapid radiations and clades with many gene tree incongruences. Here, focusing on two-clawed spiders (Dionycha) and close relatives, we evaluate if the observed distribution of characters related to a web-less lifestyle could be better explained as synapomorphies, homoplasies, or hemiplasies. We find that, although there are several convergences, hemiplasies are also sometimes probable. We discuss how these hemiplasies could affect inferences about correlation and causal relationship of traits. Understanding when and where in the tree of life hemiplasy could have happened is important, preventing false inference of convergent evolution. Furthermore, this understanding can provide alternative hypotheses that can be tested with independent data. Using traits related to the climbing ability of spiders we show that, when hemiplasy is unlikely, adequate model testing can be used to better understand correlated evolution, and propose hypotheses to be tested using controlled behavioral and mechanical experiments.

     
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  2. Abstract: The importance of morphology in the phylogenomic era has recently gained attention, but relatively few studies have combined both types of information when inferring phylogenetic relationships. Sanger sequencing legacy data can also be important for understanding evolutionary relationships. The possibility of combining genomic, morphological and Sanger data in one analysis seems compelling, permitting a more complete sampling and yielding a comprehensive view of the evolution of a group. Here we used these three data types to elucidate the systematics and evolution of the Dionycha, a highly diverse group of spiders relatively underrepresented in phylogenetic studies. The datasets were analyzed separately and combined under different inference methods, including a novel approach for analyzing morphological matrices with commonly used evolutionary models. We tested alternative hypotheses of relationships and performed simulations to investigate the accuracy of our findings. We provide a comprehensive and thorough phylogenetic hypothesis for Dionycha that can serve as a robust framework to test hypotheses about the evolution of key characters. We also show that morphological data might have a phylogenetic impact, even when massively outweighed by molecular data. Our approach to analyze morphological data may serve as an alternative to the proposed practice of arbitrarily partitioning, weighting, and choosing between parsimony and stochastic models. As a result of our findings, we propose Trachycosmidae new rank for a group of Australian genera formerly included in Trochanteriidae and Gallieniellidae, and consider Ammoxenidae as a junior synonym of Gnaphosidae. We restore the family rank for Prodidomidae, but transfer the subfamily Molycriinae to Gnaphosidae. Drassinella is transferred to Liocranidae, Donuea to Corinnidae, and Mahafalytenus to Viridasiidae. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Introgressive hybridization can be a powerful force impacting patterns of evolution at multiple taxonomic levels. We aimed to understand how introgression has affected speciation and diversification within a species complex of jumping spiders. The Habronattus americanus subgroup is a recently radiating group of jumping spiders, with species now in contact after hypothesized periods of isolation during glaciation cycles of the Pleistocene. Effects of introgression on genomes and morphology were investigated using phylogenomic and clustering methods using RADseq, ultraconserved elements (UCEs), and morphological data. We characterized 14 unique species/morphs using non-metric multidimensional scaling of morphological data, a majority of which were not recovered as monophyletic in our phylogenomic analyses. Morphological clusters and genetic lineages are highly incongruent, such that geographic region was a greater predictor of phylogenetic relatedness and genomic similarity than species or morph identity. STRUCTURE analyses support this pattern, revealing clusters corresponding to larger geographic regions. A history of rapid radiation in combination with frequent introgression seems to have mostly homogenized the genomes of species in this system, while selective forces maintain distinct male morphologies. GEMMA analyses support this idea by identifying SNPs correlated with distinct male morphologies. Overall, we have uncovered a system at odds with a typical bifurcating evolutionary model, instead supporting one where closely related species evolve together connected through multiple introgression events, creating a reticulate evolutionary history. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Leptonetidae are rarely encountered spiders, usually associated with caves and mesic habitats, and are disjunctly distributed across the Holarctic. Data from ultraconserved elements (UCEs) were used in concatenated and coalescent-based analyses to estimate the phylogenetic history of the family. Our taxon sample included close outgroups, and 90% of described leptonetid genera, with denser sampling in North America and Mediterranean Europe. Two data matrices were assembled and analysed; the first ‘relaxed’ matrix includes the maximum number of loci and the second ‘strict’ matrix is limited to the same set of core orthologs but with flanking introns mostly removed. A molecular dating analysis incorporating fossil and geological calibration points was used to estimate divergence times, and dispersal–extinction–cladogenesis analysis (DEC) was used to infer ancestral distributions. Analysis of both data matrices using maximum likelihood and coalescent-based methods supports the monophyly of Archoleptonetinae and Leptonetinae. However, relationships among Archoleptonetinae, Leptonetinae, and Austrochiloidea are poorly supported and remain unresolved. Archoleptonetinae is elevated to family rank Archoleptonetidae (new rank) and Leptonetidae (new status) is restricted to include only members of the subfamily Leptonetinae; a taxonomic review with morphological diagnoses is provided for both families. Four well supported lineages within Leptonetidae (new status) are recovered: (1) the Calileptoneta group, (2) the Leptoneta group, (3) the Paraleptoneta group, and (4) the Protoleptoneta group. Most genera within Leptonetidae are monophyletic, although Barusia, Cataleptoneta, and Leptoneta include misplaced species and require taxonomic revision. The origin of Archoleptonetidae (new rank), Leptonetidae, and the four main lineages within Leptonetidae date to the Cretaceous. DEC analysis infers the Leptoneta and Paraleptoneta groups to have ancestral distributions restricted to Mediterranean Europe, whereas the Calileptoneta and Protoleptoneta groups include genera with ancestral distributions spanning eastern and western North America, Mediterranean Europe, and east Asia. Based on a combination of biology, estimated divergence times, and inferred ancestral distributions we hypothesise that Leptonetidae was once widespread across the Holarctic and their present distributions are largely the result of vicariance. Given the wide disjunctions between taxa, we broadly interpret the family as a Holarctic relict fauna and hypothesise that they were once part of the Boreotropical forest ecosystem. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    It is not uncommon to find courtship displays that incorporate numerous components across different sensory modalities. We studied displays in male jumping spiders of the genus Habronattus F.O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1901, which court females using a combination of ornament and motion (dance) displays coordinated with vibrational songs. To explore the diversity in Habronattus courtship complexity, we focused on quantifying the dance and vibratory displays in nine members of the Habronattus clypeatus species group, with preliminary observations on two additional species from this group. Additionally, we looked at display variation across populations in two widespread species from this group. We document three main courtship types: “stilting”, “buzzing”, and “spinning”, each identifiable by the presence or emphasis on particular display types. We found that for the widespread species H. clypeatus (Banks, 1895), different populations differed significantly and could be classified as either stilting or buzzing types. We discuss these results in relation to broader patterns of signal evolution and diversification in Habronattus. 
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  6. Abstract The common ancestor of spiders likely used silk to line burrows or make simple webs, with specialized spinning organs and aerial webs originating with the evolution of the megadiverse “true spiders” (Araneomorphae). The base of the araneomorph tree also concentrates the greatest number of changes in respiratory structures, a character system whose evolution is still poorly understood, and that might be related to the evolution of silk glands. Emphasizing a dense sampling of multiple araneomorph lineages where tracheal systems likely originated, we gathered genomic-scale data and reconstructed a phylogeny of true spiders. This robust phylogenomic framework was used to conduct maximum likelihood and Bayesian character evolution analyses for respiratory systems, silk glands, and aerial webs, based on a combination of original and published data. Our results indicate that in true spiders, posterior book lungs were transformed into morphologically similar tracheal systems six times independently, after the evolution of novel silk gland systems and the origin of aerial webs. From these comparative data we put forth a novel hypothesis that early-diverging web building spiders were faced with new energetic demands for spinning, which prompted the evolution of similar tracheal systems via convergence; we also propose tests of predictions derived from this hypothesis. 
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  7. The systematics of sitticine jumping spiders is reviewed, with a focus on the Palearctic and Nearctic regions, in order to revise their generic classification, clarify the species of one region (Canada), and study their chromosomes. A genome-wide molecular phylogeny of 23 sitticine species, using more than 700 loci from the arachnid Ultra-Conserved Element (UCE) probeset, confirms the Neotropical origins of sitticines, whose basal divergence separates the new subtribe Aillutticina (a group of five Neotropical genera) from the subtribe Sitticina (five genera of Eurasia and the Americas). The phylogeny shows that most Eurasian sitticines form a relatively recent and rapid radiation, which we unite into the genus Attulus Simon, 1868, consisting of the subgenera Sitticus Simon, 1901 (seven described species), Attulus (41 described species), and Sittilong Prószyński, 2017 (one species). Five species of Attulus occur natively in North America, presumably through dispersals back from the Eurasian radiation, but an additional three species were more recently introduced from Eurasia. Attus palustris Peckham & Peckham, 1883 is considered to be a full synonym of Euophrys floricola C. L. Koch, 1837 (not a distinct subspecies). Attus sylvestris Emerton, 1891 is removed from synonymy and recognized as a senior synonym of Sitticus magnus Chamberlin & Ivie, 1944. Thus, the five native Attulus in North America are Attulus floricola , A. sylvestris , A. cutleri , A. striatus , and A. finschi . The other sitticines of Canada and the U.S.A. are placed in separate genera, all of which arose from a Neotropical radiation including Jollas Simon, 1901 and Tomis F.O.Pickard-Cambridge, 1901: (1) Attinella Banks, 1905 ( A. dorsata , A. concolor , A. juniperi ), (2) Tomis ( T. welchi ), and (3) Sittisax Prószyński, 2017 ( S. ranieri ). All Neotropical and Caribbean “ Sitticus ” are transferred to either Jollas (12 species total) or Tomis (14 species). Attinella (three species) and Tomis are both removed from synonymy with Sitticus ; the synonymy of Sitticus cabellensis Prószyński, 1971 with Pseudattulus kratochvili Caporiacco, 1947 is restored; Pseudattulus Caporiacco, 1947 is synonymized with Tomis . Six generic names are newly synonymized with Attulus and one with Attinella . Two Neotropical species are described as new, Jollas cupreus sp. nov. and Tomis manabita sp. nov. Forty-six new combinations are established and three are restored. Three species synonymies are restored, one is new, and two are rejected. Across this diversity of species is a striking diversification of chromosome complements, with X-autosome fusions occurring at least four times to produce neo-Y sex chromosome systems (X 1 X 2 Y and X 1 X 2 X 3 Y), some of which ( Sittisax ranieri and S. saxicola ) are sufficiently derived as to no longer preserve the simple traces of ancestral X material. The correlated distribution of neo-Y and a base autosome number of 28 suggests that neo-Y origins occurred preferentially in lineages with the presence of an extra pair of autosomes. 
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