15 December, 2014

The phylogeny of the genus Diplocentrus

The genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpionidae) is a very diverse genus with species in North and Central America (Mexico being the hotspot for this genus).

Carlos Santibanez-Lopez and co-workers have now conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the genus based on 29 species. The conclusions are presented in the abstract below.

Karsch, 1880. There is considerable morphological variation among the species of Diplocentrus. It is necessary to test the monophyly and phylogenetic position of Diplocentrus in order to revise its diagnosis and taxonomic limits. The present contribution provides a phylogenetic analysis of 29 species of Diplocentrus, five exemplar species representing the three putatively most closely related diplocentrid genera, and an exemplar of a more distantly related diplocentrid genus. The analysis was based on 95 morphological characters and 4202 aligned nucleotides from DNA sequences of five markers in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. Separate and simultaneous parsimony analyses of the morphological and DNA sequence data were conducted with equal weighting and six implied weighting regimes. The nuclear and mitochondrial DNA datasets were also analyzed separately and simultaneously with Bayesian inference. The resulting topologies recovered the monophyly of Diplocentrus, with the exception of two neobothriotaxic species from central Mexico, for which a new genus Kolotl Santibáñez-López et al., 2014, is justified. The keyserlingii group, as previously defined, was not monophyletic due to the placement of two species in the mexicanus group; the rest of its component species were monophyletic, however. A third clade was recovered that has not been previously recognized: the zacatecanus group, comprising four species from northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S.A. New insights are provided concerning relationships among Diplocentrus and the diplocentrid genera Bioculus Stahnke, 1968 and Didymocentrus Kraepelin, 1905, the phylogenetic positions of which were previously ambiguous.

Santibanez-Lopez CE, Francke OF, Prendini L. Phylogeny of the North American scorpion genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) based on morphology, nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny. 2014;72(3):257-79. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Carlos Santibanez-Lopez for sending me his paper!

Family Scorpionidae

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