Evolutionary Origins of Gondwanan Interactions: How Old Are Araucaria Beetle Herbivores?
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Sequeira, Andrea S.
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CitationSequeira, Andrea S., and Brian D. Farrell. 2001. “Evolutionary Origins of Gondwanan Interactions: How Old Are Araucaria Beetle Herbivores?” Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74 (4): 459–74. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2001.tb01405.x.
AbstractStudies of a variety of phenomena, ranging from rates of molecular substitution to rates of diversification, draw on estimates of geological age. Studies incorporating estimates of timing from fossils or other geological evidence are largely of relatively young, Tertiary divergences, to which older systems may provide useful comparisons. One apparently old assemblage comprises the beetle groups associated with the ancient genus Araucaria that share comparable, ostensibly Gondwanan distributions with their host. Our previous studies suggested a possibly Cretaceous age for Araucaria associations in bark beetles. However, the absence of confirmed bark beetle fossils earlier than the Tertiary has been taken as evidence of Cretaceous absence, and their confirmed phylogenetic position within the primitively angiosperm-feeding weevil family rules out pre-angiosperm, Jurassic origins. Nevertheless, an early shift from angiosperms to Araucaria seemed plausible in the light of Araucaria fossil history which spans the Mesozoic since the Jurassic. To resolve the phylogenetic affinities and to estimate divergence times of the Australian and South American bark beetle genera affiliated with Araucaria we analysed DNA sequences of nuclear and mitochondrial genes: protein coding elongation factor alpha, enolase and cytochrome oxidase I. The most parsimonious reconstruction of the host relationships of Tomicini from the combined dataset corroborates the ancestral association with the genus Araucaria of both South American and Australian Tomicini. Bayesian estimation of divergence times indicates that the divergence between the Australian and the South American Araucaria-feeding taxa occurred at the very latest in the Cretaceous/Paleocene border and that the age of the first Scolytinae-Araucaria association would then be during the later stages of the Late Cretaceous, while other known beetle/Araucaria associations are Jurassic.
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