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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376625

Research Project: Beetle Taxonomy and Systematics Supporting U.S. Agriculture, Arboriculture and Biological Control

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: First phylogenetic analysis of Dryophthorinae (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) based on structural alignment of ribosomal DNA reveals Cenozoic diversification

item Chamorro, Maria
item DE MEDEIROS, BRUNO - Universidad De Panama
item FARRELL, BRAIN - Harvard University

Submitted to: Ecology and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2020
Publication Date: 2/16/2021
Citation: Chamorro, M.L., De Medeiros, B., Farrell, B.D. 2021. First phylogenetic analysis of Dryophthorinae (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) based on structural alignment of ribosomal DNA reveals Cenozoic diversification. Ecology and Evolution. 11(5):1984-1998.

Interpretive Summary: The Palm Weevils includes some of the most devastating agricultural insect pests worldwide, including the Red Palm Weevil (RPW), the South American Palm Weevil, the Banana Root Borer, the Cardamon Weevil, the Small Banana Weevil, the New Guinea Sugar Cane weevil, and the Rice, Wheat, and Corn weevils among others. The relationships among the higher-groups (genera, subtribes, tribes) and age of the group has never been studied. This study includes the first comprehensive study of the relationships of Palm Weevils. We present information on the classification, morphology and age of the group. With this study we can make pr edictions about what species of Palm Weevils may pose a significant risk to US agriculture and natural resources. This study contributes significantly to our understanding and evolution of the group and will better prepare farmers, foresters, federal and local regulatory and inspection agencies against the threat posed by invasive species around the World.

Technical Abstract: Dryophthorinae is an economically important, ecologically distinct, and ubiquitous monophyletic group of pantropical weevils with more than 1200 species in 153 genera. This study provides the first comprehensive phylogeny of the group with the aim to provide insights into the process and timing of diversification of phytophagous insects, inform classification, and facilitate predictions. The taxon sampling is the most extensive to date and includes representatives of all five dryophthorine tribes and all but one subtribe. The phylogeny is based on secondary structural alignment of 18S and 28S rRNA totaling 3764 nucleotide s analyzed under Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood inference. We used a fossil-calibrated relaxed clock model with two approaches, node dating and fossilized birth-death models, to estimate divergence times for the subfamily. All tribes except the species-rich Rhynchophorini were found to be monophyletic, but higher support is required to ascertain the paraphyly of Rhynchophorini with more confidence. Nephius is closely related to Dryophthorini and Stromboscerini, and there is strong evidence for paraphyly of Sphenophorina. We find a large gap between the divergence of Dryophthorinae from their sister group Platypodinae in the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary and the diversification of extant species in the Cenozoic, highlighting the role of coevolution with angiosperms in this group.