Phylogeny of harvestmen family Gonyleptidae inferred from a multilocus approach (Arachnida: Opiliones)


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January 2014


Gonyleptidae is the second most diverse harvestmen family and the most studied in terms of morphology, behaviour, and ecology. Despite this, few phylogenetic studies have focused on gonyleptids, and those are based on a very limited number of taxa. We addressed this gap by constructing a phylogenetic hypothesis of the family using 101 taxa from all 16 gonyleptid subfamilies and four mitochondrial and nuclear loci (COI , 28S rRNA , 12S rRNA , and 16S rRNA ). These were analysed under parsimony and likelihood optimality criteria (and using direct optimization for the former). Relationships among Gonyleptoidea and within each subfamily of Gonyleptidae were largely congruent between parsimony and maximum‐likelihood approaches. Taxonomic actions from our phylogeny include the following: Tricommatidae, new status, is restored as a family; Metasarcidae, new status, is recognized as a family and considered sister to the Cosmetidae; and Cranainae and Manaosbiinae are suggested as members of Gonyleptidae, restoring Roewer's concept of the family. Within Gonyleptidae, the “K92” group—composed of Sodreaninae, Caelopyginae, Hernandariinae, Progonyleptoidellinae, and Gonyleptinae—forms a clade, although the latter two subfamilies are not monophyletic. The genus P arampheres is here transferred to Caelopyginae, and “M ultumbo ” dimorphicus to Gonyleptinae. Gonyleptidae is characterized by the presence of a ventral process on the penis glans and a bifid apophysis on the male coxa IV. The long‐legged Mitobatinae can be considered monophyletic only if some short‐legged pachylines are included, or if we assume that elongate legs arose twice independently (in the true mitobatine genera and in L ongiperna ). Pachylinae, the most diverse gonyleptid subfamily, represents several distinct lineages. We further conclude that the traditional use of a small set of morphological characters in the systematics of Gonyleptidae is unable to explain the complex evolution of the family.


Phylogeny, Harvestmen, Gonyleptidae, Multilocus Approach, Arachnida, Opiliones

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Cladistics, Vol. 30, no. 5 (2014-01-02).