Monday, December 10, 2007 - 9:53 AM

Molecular systematics and evolutionary trends in Leiodidae (Coleoptera: Staphylinoidea)

Ainsley Seago,, University of California - Berkeley, 137 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA

The beetle family Leiodidae occurs worldwide and encompasses a tremendous breadth of morphological and ecological diversity, including iridescent fungivores, eyeless, wingless cave-dwellers, and mammalian ectoparasites. An improved understanding of leiodid evolutionary relationships makes it possible to examine how and why these unusual lifestyles have evolved.

In order to determine the phylogenetic relationships within Leiodidae, a multilocus DNA dataset was assembled for multiple representatives of all subfamilies and 17 of the family’s 19 described tribes. Comparative methods applied to this phylogenetic framework indicate that trophic specialization has led to substantial evolutionary diversification in certain leiodid lineages. In inquiline, phoretic, and ectoparasitic beetles, however, no such radiations have occurred.

Species 1: Coleoptera Leiodidae