Macroevolution of hyperdiverse flightless beetles reflects the complex geological history of the Sunda Arc

Scientific Reports
Rene TänzlerAlexander Riedel


The Sunda Arc forms an almost continuous chain of islands and thus a potential dispersal corridor between mainland Southeast Asia and Melanesia. However, the Sunda Islands have rather different geological histories, which might have had an important impact on actual dispersal routes and community assembly. Here, we reveal the biogeographical history of hyperdiverse and flightless Trigonopterus weevils. Different approaches to ancestral area reconstruction suggest a complex east to west range expansion. Out of New Guinea, Trigonopterus repeatedly reached the Moluccas and Sulawesi transgressing Lydekker's Line. Sulawesi repeatedly acted as colonization hub for different segments of the Sunda Arc. West Java, East Java and Bali are recognized as distinct biogeographic areas. The timing and diversification of species largely coincides with the geological chronology of island emergence. Colonization was not inhibited by traditional biogeographical boundaries such as Wallace's Line. Rather, colonization patterns support distance dependent dispersal and island age limiting dispersal.


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