Spiny trapdoor spiders (Euoplos) of eastern Australia: Broadly sympatric clades are differentiated by burrow architecture and male morphology

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Wilson, Jeremy D
Hughes, Jane M
Raven, Robert J
Rix, Michael G
Schmidt, Daniel J
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2018
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Abstract

Spiders of the infraorder Mygalomorphae are fast becoming model organisms for the study of biogeography and speciation. However, these spiders can be difficult to study in the absence of fundamental life history information. In particular, their cryptic nature hinders comprehensive sampling, and linking males with conspecific females can be challenging. Recently discovered differences in burrow entrance architecture and male morphology indicated that these challenges may have impeded our understanding of the trapdoor spider genus Euoplos in Australia’s eastern mesic zone. We investigated the evolutionary significance of these discoveries using a multi-locus phylogenetic approach. Our results revealed the existence of a second, previously undocumented, lineage of Euoplos in the eastern mesic zone. This new lineage occurs in sympatry with a lineage previously known from the region, and the two are consistently divergent in their burrow entrance architecture and male morphology, revealing the suitability of these characters for use in phylogenetic studies. Divergent burrow entrance architecture and observed differences in microhabitat preferences are suggested to facilitate sympatry and syntopy between the lineages. Finally, by investigating male morphology and plotting it onto the phylogeny, we revealed that the majority of Euoplos species remain undescribed, and that males of an unnamed species from the newly discovered lineage had historically been linked, erroneously, to a described species from the opposite lineage. This paper clarifies the evolutionary relationships underlying life history diversity in the Euoplos of eastern Australia, and provides a foundation for urgently needed taxonomic revision of this genus.

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Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution

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122

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Evolutionary biology

Genetics

Zoology

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