The 2005 ESA Annual Meeting and Exhibition
December 15-18, 2005
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Connecting the dots of ladybug evolution: A molecular phylogeny of ladybugs (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Lori R. Shapiro, lshap@uga.edu1, Jose A. Giorgi, giorgi@bugs.ent.uga.edu1, Joseph V. McHugh, jmchugh@bugs.ent.uga.edu1, and Michael Whiting, michael_whiting@byu.edu2. (1) University of Georgia, Department of Entomology, 413 Biological Sciences Building, Athens, GA, (2) Brigham Young University, Dept. of Integrative Biology, 401 Widstoe Building, Provo, UT

Although ladybugs are charismatic and have great ecological and economic significance, our understanding of the evolutionary history of Coccinellidae remains poor (Coccinellidae: Coleoptera). Many hypothesis of evolutionary relationships based on morphological features have been proposed, but none have been verified using a formal phylogenetic analysis. The objectives of this study are (1) to apply molecular evidence to reconstruct a molecular phylogeny for ladybugs, examine the monophyly of the family and several higher-level taxa within the group, and to establish basic phylogenetic patterns; (2) use this topology to interpret the evolution of coccinellid host shifts (predation, herbivory, mycophagy); and (3) use this molecular topology to interpret the conspicuous coloration patterns that exist within the family. DNA data from multiple loci, including 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, COI, and COII were sequenced for a wide variety of ingroup and outgroup taxa. This study reexamines the current evolutionary hypothesis based on morphological data in light of the newly elucidated DNA sequences. Trees were reconstructed using multiple methods and characters mapped on the topology via parsimony. Our results suggest that the molecular data provide robust support across the topology, and that this topology is providing important new insights into the evolution of feeding behavior and color pattern evolution.

Species 1: Coleoptera Coccinellidae
Keywords: Phylogenetics, Ladybeetle