Convergent evolution of gigantism in damselflies of Africa and South America? Evidence from nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data.

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:L. F. Groeneveld, Clausnitzer, V., Hadrys, H.
Journal:Molecular phylogenetics and evolution
Pagination:339 - 46
Date Published:2007/02//
Keywords:AFRICA, Animals, Cell Nucleus, Cell Nucleus: genetics, DNA, Mitochondrial, DNA, Mitochondrial: chemistry, DNA, Mitochondrial: genetics, Evolution, Molecular, Insects, Insects: classification, Insects: genetics, Molecular Sequence Data, NADH Dehydrogenase, NADH Dehydrogenase: genetics, Peptide Elongation Factor 1, Peptide Elongation Factor 1: genetics, PHYLOGENY, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S: genetics, Sequence Analysis, DNA, South America

Extreme large body size is rare in modern Zygoptera (damselflies). Only the South and Central American damselfly family Pseudostigmatidae and one African species, Coryphagrion grandis, share the morphological trait of gigantism. By means of phylogenetic analyses using two mitochondrial markers (16S rDNA and ND1) and one nuclear marker (EF1) in combination with an existing morphological data set, we trace the evolution of gigantism in damselflies. Individual and combined data sets were analyzed using the maximum parsimony, minimum evolution and maximum likelihood algorithms. Regardless of the algorithm used and the data set analyzed all principal tree topologies support a monophyly of the damselfly taxa displaying giant body size. This supports the view that the evolution of gigantism in damselflies from Africa and South America is not the result of convergent evolution due to strikingly similar habitat preferences, but rather the result of close genealogical relationship. Because modern odonates evolved before the split of Africa from Gondwanaland, the proposed phylogeny suggests that C. grandis represents a Gondwana relict.

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