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Exploring myrmecophily based on the phylogenetic interrelationships of Falagonia Sharp, 1883 (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Aleocharinae) and allied genera
- SANTIAGO‐JIMÉNEZ, QUIYARI J., ESPINOSA DE LOS MONTEROS, ALEJANDRO
- Systematic entomology 2016 v.41 no.4 pp. 794-807
- Bayesian theory, Staphylinidae, adults, monophyly, polyphyly, synapomorphy, taxonomy
- The taxonomy of Lomechusini Fleming has a complex history. Recent studies have shown that this group is polyphyletic; however, little is known about the evolutionary interrelationships among its constituent genera. The goals of the present study are to infer the phylogenetic relationships of Falagonia Sharp and closely related genera; to define the boundaries of those genera based on synapomorphic characters; and to explore the evolution of myrmecophily within the lineage. The phylogenetic analyses are based exclusively on morphological characters of adults. A total of 36 operational taxonomic units were used for the analysis. The best trees were selected based on maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference. During the parsimony reconstruction, different weighting strategies were used to recover the most robust phylogenetic hypothesis. Although minor differences were observed in the results of the different analyses, the topologies were consistent throughout. Several groups of genera proposed by Seevers (1965), such as the ‘Tetradonia’ and ‘Ecitopora’ groups, were not recovered. Thus, these may represent nonmonophyletic groups that were based on nonsynapomorphic diagnostic characters. Our analyses consistently recovered the genera Asheidium Santiago‐Jiménez, Delgadoidium Santiago‐Jiménez, Falagonia, Newtonidium Santiago‐Jiménez, Pseudofalagonia Santiago‐Jiménez, Sharpidium Santiago‐Jiménez, Tetradonia Wasmann and Thayeridium Santiago‐Jiménez, forming a monophyletic group that we have called the ‘Asheidium complex’. Falagonia mexicana Sharp shows seven autapomorphies, none of which were used to establish the genus. Based on the phylogenetic results, myrmecophily has evolved independently at least three times within the lineage. This study, based on morphological characters, is one of the first approaches towards gaining an understanding of the phylogenetic relationships within the polyphyletic tribe Lomechusini.