Phylogenomic analysis of ultraconserved elements resolves the evolutionary and biogeographic history of segmented trapdoor spiders

The segmented trapdoor spiders (Liphistiidae) are the sole surviving family of the suborder Mesothelae, which forms the sister lineage to all other living spiders.

Liphistiids have retained a number of plesiomorphic traits and their present-day distribution is limited to East and Southeast Asia. Studying this group has the potential to shed light on the deep evolutionary history of spiders, but the phylogeny and divergence times of the family have not been resolved with confidence. We performed phylogenomic and molecular dating analyses of 2765 ultraconserved element loci from 185 liphistiid taxa. Our analyses show that the crown group of Liphistiidae appeared in the mid-Cretaceous at 102 Ma (95% credibility interval 92–113 Ma), but it was not until the Neogene that much of the diversification within the family occurred in mainland Southeast and East Asia. This diversification was coincident with tectonic events such as the extension of the East Asian continental margin, as well as geological upheavals in Indochina induced by the collision between India and Asia. Our study highlights the important role of major tectonic events in shaping the evolutionary history, present-day diversity, and geographical distribution of mesothele and liphistiid spiders.

Evolutionary and biogeographic history of liphistiid spiders

Source: Xin Xu, Yong-Chao Su, Simon Y W Ho, Matjaž Kuntner, Hirotsugu Ono, Fengxiang Liu, Chia-Chen Chang, Natapot Warrit, Varat Sivayyapram, Khin Pyae Pyae Aung, Dinh-Sac Pham, Y Norma-Rashid, Daiqin Li, 2021. Phylogenomic Analysis of Ultraconserved Elements Resolves the Evolutionary and Biogeographic History of Segmented Trapdoor Spiders. Systematic Biology, 70(6): 1110-1122.

News: Pham Dinh Sac, Vietnam National Museum of Nature, VAST
Link to Vietnamese version

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