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Molecular phylogeny of the pond treaders (Insecta: Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Mesoveliidae), discussion of the fossil record and a checklist of species assigned to the family

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The phylogenetic relationships among selected species and genera of Mesoveliidae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Gerromorpha) were investigated in a parsimony analysis of 2858 bp of DNA sequence data from the genes encoding COI + II, 16S rRNA and 28S rRNA. The resulting phylogeny showed that Mesoveloidea williamsi Hungerford, 1929, from the subfamily Madeoveliinae, was sister group to Mniovelia Andersen & J.T. Polhemus, 1980, from the Mesoveliinae, thus making the latter subfamily paraphyletic. The genus Mesovelia Mulsant & Rey, 1852 also showed to be paraphyletic, since an undescribed Laotian relative of M. indica Horváth, 1915 and M. ujhelyii Lundblad, 1933 resulted as sister group to Phrynovelia Horváth, 1915; and M. amoena Uhler, 1894 was sister species to Speovelia maritima Esaki, 1929. Whereas these relationships were poorly or moderately supported, the remaining species of Mesovelia formed two distinct and well-supported clades, one comprising M. horvathi Lundblad, 1933, M. hackeri Harris & Drake, 1941, and two undescribed species from Nigeria and New Caledonia, and another comprising M. vittigera Horváth, 1895, M. stysi J.T. Polhemus & D.A. Polhemus, 2000, M. ebbenielseni Andersen & Weir, 2004, M. furcata Mulsant & Rey, 1952, and M. mulsanti White, 1879. A large genetic difference was found between populations of M. vittigera from Europe and Africa on one side and populations from Australia and New Caledonia on the other. DNA sequence data from a Japanese “M. vittigera” obtained from GenBank placed the specimen as strongly supported sister group to a Danish specimen of M. furcata. Comparisons of the 28S rRNA sequence data between the two specimens revealed a single C/T transition, while comparison with a Chinese female of M. furcata revealed one A/G and one C/T transition, thus suggesting mislabelling of the Japanese specimen, or an unrecognized presence of M. furcata in Japan. Considerable genetic differentiation was found between specimens of M. horvathi from Australia, New Caledonia, New Guinea, and Laos, and between sympatric specimens of M. mulsanti from Honduras, thus supporting earlier ideas of species-complexes in these two clades. Samples of Austrovelia caledonica Malipatil & Monteith, 1983 from New Caledonia and Mniovelia kuscheli Andersen & J.T. Polhemus, 1980 from New Zealand’s North Island also revealed considerable intraspecific divergences indicating genetic isolation among geographically separated populations on these ancient islands.

Affiliations: 1: aLaboratory of Molecular Systematics, Botanical Garden and Museum, Sølvgade 83 Opg. S, 1307 Copenhagen K, Denmark ; 2: bLaboratório de Entomologia, Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Avenida Carlos Chagas Filho 373, CCS, Cidade Universitária, CEP 21941–971, C.P. 68044, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil ; 3: cHoshizaki Green Foundation, Okinoshima, 1659-5 Sonocho, Izumo, Shimane 691-0076, Japan ; 4: dAustralian National Insect Collection, CSIRO Entomology, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia ; 5: eNatural History Museum Vienna, International Research Institute for Entomology, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria


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