High endemism at cave entrances:a case study of spiders of the genus Uthina

We investigated the endemism of the spider genus Uthina at cave entrances. Totally 212 spiders were sampled from 46 localities, from Seychelles across Southeast Asia to Fiji.

ZhiyuanYao1,2,3, Tingting Dong4, Guo Zheng4, Jinzhong Fu3 & Shuqiang Li1,2
1  Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.
2  Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China.
3  Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph N1G2W1, Canada.
4  College of Life Sciences, Shenyang Normal University, Shenyang 110034, China.
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to S.L. (email: lisq@ioz.ac.cn)

PubYear : 2016
Volume : 6:35757
Publication Name : Ecologica Montenegrina
Page number : 1-9

Abstract:
Endemism, which is typically high on islands and in caves, has rarely been studied in the cave entrance ecotone. We investigated the endemism of the spider genus Uthina at cave entrances. Totally 212 spiders were sampled from 46 localities, from Seychelles across Southeast Asia to Fiji. They mostly occur at cave entrances but occasionally appear at various epigean environments. Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data from COI and 28S genes suggested that Uthina was grouped into 13 well-supported clades. We used three methods, the Bayesian Poisson Tree Processes (bPTP) model, the Bayesian Phylogenetics and Phylogeography (BPP) method, and the general mixed Yule coalescent (GMYC) model, to investigate species boundaries. Both bPTP and BPP identifed the 13 clades as 13 separate species, while GMYC identifed 19 species. Furthermore, our results revealed high endemism at cave entrances. Of the 13 provisional species, twelve (one known and eleven new) are endemic to one or a cluster of caves, and all of them occurred only at cave entrances except for one population of one species. The only widely distributed species, U. luzonica, mostly occurred in epigean environments while three populations were found at cave entrances. Additionally, eleven new species of the genus are
described.

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