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The Strait of Gibraltar a genetic barrier for flying beetles: molecular and morphological data from Trichodes (Coleoptera: Cleridae)

AuthorsFernández-Álvarez, Fernando Ángel ; Recuero, Ernesto ; Jiménez-Ruiz, Y.; García-París, Mario
Issue Date2010
AbstractThe effect of the Gibraltar Strait as a barrier to gene flow is one of the most attractive research topics in Western Mediterranean Biogeography. In this study, we perform molecular phylogenetic analyses using multi-locus molecular data to characterize the relationships among Iberian and Moroccan species of Trichodes and to define the patterns of genetic diversity among populations of T. leucopsideus and T. flavocinctus on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar. The observed patterns are contrasted with morphological data. We sampled five species of Trichodes from the Iberian Peninsula (82 individuals), two from Morocco (6 specimens) and North America (9 individuals). Enoclerus cupresii (Cleridae) and Languria (Erotylidae) were included as sequential outgroups. All species of Trichodes form a monophyletic group. Our data suggest that the genus is formed by two main subclades: the acridophagous and apidophagous clades. Within a well structured European apidophagous clade, T. leucopsideus, T. apiarius and T. suturalis form a subclade sister to T. alvearius and T. octopunctatus subclade. Trichodes leucopsideus and T. flavocinctus are two ¿species¿ that need a deep revision of their taxonomic status. There is a significant evolutionary divergence between the Iberian and Maghrebian representatives of each taxa. Iberian T. leucopsideus presents yellow antennal segments and three septa in the most distal maxilar segment, while Moroccan specimens present black antennal segments and lack septa in the distal maxillary segment. No external differences can be detected between Iberian and Maghrebian specimens of T. flavocinctus, but as in T. leucopsideus, male genitalia are consistently different between the two clades. Calibrations based on our molecular data suggest that the Strait of Gibraltar has been acting as an active barrier preventing genetic exchange for a long period of time (probably Mio-Pliocene) between African and European populations within taxa of both acridophagous and apidophagous clades of Trichodes.
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