A1 Journal article – refereed

Evolution of blindness in scolopendromorph centipedes (Chilopoda: Scolopendromorpha): insight from an expanded sampling of molecular data

List of Authors: Vahtera V, Edgecombe GD, Giribet G


Publication year: 2012

Journal: Cladistics

Journal name in source: CLADISTICS

Journal acronym: CLADISTICS

Volume number: 28

Issue number: 1

Number of pages: 17

ISSN: 0748-3007

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-0031.2011.00361.x

Relative to its diversity (34 genera, 700 species), Scolopendromorpha has been undersampled in molecular phylogenetic analyses compared with the other chilopod orders. Previous analyses based on morphology have not resolved several key controversies in systematics and evolutionary morphology unambiguously. Here we apply new molecular and morphological data to scolopendromorph phylogenetics, with a focus on the evolution of blindness. The taxonomic sample includes 19 genera, many lacking previous molecular data, and diverse, cosmopolitan genera of Scolopendridae are sampled by multiple species. Phylogenetic analysis with Direct Optimization used 94 morphological characters and ca. 4.5 kb of sequence data from two nuclear (18S and 28S rRNA) and two mitochondrial (16S rRNA and COI) loci. A single most-parsimonious cladogram selected after sensitivity analyses resolves Scolopendromorpha as monophyletic, and divides it into a blind clade of three families (Plutoniumidae, Cryptopidae, Scolopocryptopidae) and its ocellate sister group, Scolopendridae. Some species-rich, cosmopolitan genera (Cormocephalus, Otostigmus, Scolopendra) in Scolopendridae are non-monophyletic, and in several instances (e.g. New and Old World Scolopendra) relationships are more congruent with geographical distributions than with traditional classifications. The tribe Asanadini is particularly subject to parameter-sensitivity, nesting in the combined analysis within Scolopendrini but as sister to all other Scolopendrinae for molecular data alone. The total-evidence tree unambiguously optimizes trunk segmentation: a 23-segmented trunk has a single origin in the blind clade.

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