Biogeography of the Caribbean Cyrtognatha spiders

Scientific Reports
Klemen ČandekMatjaž Kuntner


Island systems provide excellent arenas to test evolutionary hypotheses pertaining to gene flow and diversification of dispersal-limited organisms. Here we focus on an orbweaver spider genus Cyrtognatha (Tetragnathidae) from the Caribbean, with the aims to reconstruct its evolutionary history, examine its biogeographic history in the archipelago, and to estimate the timing and route of Caribbean colonization. Specifically, we test if Cyrtognatha biogeographic history is consistent with an ancient vicariant scenario (the GAARlandia landbridge hypothesis) or overwater dispersal. We reconstructed a species level phylogeny based on one mitochondrial (COI) and one nuclear (28S) marker. We then used this topology to constrain a time-calibrated mtDNA phylogeny, for subsequent biogeographical analyses in BioGeoBEARS of over 100 originally sampled Cyrtognatha individuals, using models with and without a founder event parameter. Our results suggest a radiation of Caribbean Cyrtognatha, containing 11 to 14 species that are exclusively single island endemics. Although biogeographic reconstructions cannot refute a vicariant origin of the Caribbean clade, possibly an artifact of sparse outgroup availability, they indicate timing of colonizat...Continue Reading


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