Insect morphology in the age of phylogenomics


Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 14:00 to 15:00


Seminar Room C209, Center Building


Prof. Rolf G. Beutel, FSU Jena, Institut für Zoologie und Evolutionsforschung, Germany

Insect morphology in the age of phylogenomics

Insect phylogeny has made tremendous progress in the last decade. The acquisition of high quality morphological data was greatly accelerated by an optimized combination of traditional and innovative techniques. The size of molecular data sets has enormously increased and robust phylogenetic results are obtained with refined analytical methods of transcriptomes and genomes. Despite of improved data and methods, the basal branching events in Hexapoda, i.e. the relationships of the three entognathous orders remain obscure. Palaeoptera, Odonata + Ephemeroptera, may be monophyletic but this is still ambiguous. The resolution of the large neopteran lineage Polyneoptera is greatly improved, with the controversial Zoraptera placed at the base, together with Dermaptera. The paraphyly of Acercaria (=Paraneoptera) obtained by initial transcriptome analyses is likely an artifact. Morphological data and recent molecular results suggest a monophyletic origin, with paraphyletic Psocoptera and true lice forming a clade Psocodea which is the sistergroup of Condylognatha, i.e. Thysanoptera + the megadiverse Hemiptera. The phylogenetic relationships of the “hyperdiverse” Holometabola are completely resolved with large morphological and molecular data sets. The future of insect systematics and evolutionary biology lies in an efficient cooperation between morphologists, embryologists, palaeontologists, bioinformaticians, and molecular systematists.

Fig. 1. Phylogeny of Hexapoda based on transcriptome analyses (Misof et al. 2014)

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