Mechanisms generating biological diversity in the genus Platypleura Amyot & Serville, 1843 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) in southern Africa: implications of a preliminary molecular phylogeny

Villet, M.H. and Barker, N.P. and Lunt, N. (2004) Mechanisms generating biological diversity in the genus Platypleura Amyot & Serville, 1843 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) in southern Africa: implications of a preliminary molecular phylogeny. South African Journal of Science, 100 (11 & 12). pp. 589-594. ISSN 0038-2353

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Abstract

Truly understanding biological diversity requires a move from descriptive studies to mechanistic interpretations based on comparative biology and a thorough recognition of the natural history of the focal organisms. A useful step in such comparative studies is the generation of a phylogeny, so that one can assess the phylogenetic independence of the focal taxa and trace the evolutionary significance of their characteristics. As a preliminary to such studies on the platypleurine cicada genus Platypleura, we sequenced 498 bases of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene from thirteen African species. To circumvent problems with outgroup selection, we also included sequences from representatives of the platypleurine genera Brevisiana, Capcicada, Munza, Oxypleura, Severiana, and Systophlochius, all of the subtribe Platypleuriti, and two species of the genus Ugada, of the subtribe Hainanosemiiti. The resulting phylogenies support the synonymization of the monotypic genus Systophlochius with the widespread, speciose genus Platypleura; confirm the placement of Platypleura sp. 7 in that genus; and confirm the independence of Capcicada and Platypleura. Although the preliminary phylogeny lacks strong support at many nodes, it suggests that three radiations of Platypleura have occurred in southern Africa and that there was progressive southward speciation of these radiations. A novel modification of the ancestral area analysis further suggests that the group has an ancestral association with acacias but there were five independent speciation events associated with host- switching. These insights can be summarized by a general hypothesis that the mechanisms underlying platypleurine biodiversity in southern Africa involve two ancient vicariance events and subsequent speciation by vicariance, switching of plant associations, and changes of habitat preferences. We offer this example to illustrate how analysis of preliminary data can help to generate hypotheticodeductive research hypotheses, to provoke interest in testing these hypotheses, and to illustrate the utility of phylogenies beyond systematics.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Rhodes Centenary issue
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cicadidae, biological diversity, Platypleura, Capcicada
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Botany
Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
ID Code:115
Deposited By: Rhodes Library Archive Administrator
Deposited On:15 Aug 2005
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:17
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