Five species of Halobates sea skaters are the only insects that have successfully colonized open ocean habitats. They provide an excellent opportunity to study ocean current changes over both short and long time spans. Mitochondrial DNA (COI) sequences indicate that H. micans populations from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans have been isolated for 1 to 3 million years, with populations in the Indian Oceans showing the earliest divergence. In contrast, H. sericeus populations appear to be divided into southern and northern Pacific components, with incomplete gene flow between them. New data from recent collections allow us to refine this picture with samples from locations that have been perturbed by El Nino events.
Species 1: Heteroptera Gerridae Halobates sericeus (sea skater)
Species 2: Heteroptera Gerridae Halobates micans
Keywords: evolution, phylogeography
The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey of ESA