Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Exploring the role of within-island ecogeographical factors: insights from the genetic diversity of Cretan trap-door spiders (Cyrtocarenum cunicularium, Ctenizidae : Araneae)

Evanthia Thanou A E , Panagiotis Kornilios A , Dimitris Poursanidis B , Aristeidis Parmakelis C , Miquel A. Arnedo D and Maria Chatzaki A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Democritus University of Thrace, GR-68100 Alexandroupolis, Greece.

B Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH), Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics, N. Plastira 100, Vassilika Vouton, 70013, Heraklion, Greece.

C Department of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, GR-15784 Athens, Greece.

D Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio), Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, University of Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

E Corresponding author. Email: thanouevanthia@gmail.com

Invertebrate Systematics 31(4) 506-517 https://doi.org/10.1071/IS16082
Submitted: 3 December 2016  Accepted: 15 April 2017   Published: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Crete (Aegean Sea, Greece), like other Mediterranean islands, has a complex palaeogeographical history, including several cycles of fragmentation into palaeoislands and subsequent reconnection. Here, we use the Cretan trap-door spider Cyrtocarenum cunicularium as a model organism to explore the importance of within-island evolutionary processes, such as palaeogeographic events and climatic changes. We assessed the phylogeny, population clustering and historical demography of 61 specimens with mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear (H3) markers. We investigated the isolation-by-distance and spatial diffusion processes that have shaped their past and current distribution and estimated the effect of niche divergence, using species distribution modelling. Two genetic lineages have continuously been distributed in the west and east part of Crete during the last 2 million years. Their genetic structure is concordant with Crete’s fragmentation into palaeoislands during the Pliocene and additionally affected by the sea-level oscillations and climatic changes due to the Pleistocenic glacial cycles. In central Crete, some evidence of genetic admixture between them was found, which needs to be further explored. According to species distribution modelling, the niche of each lineage corresponds to different environmental parameters, while isolation-by-distance was also detected. The divergence between the ‘West’ and ‘East’ lineages was promoted by palaeogeographical factors but seems to be maintained by the species’ poor dispersal abilities and the local ecological adaptation of each lineage. The case of the Cretan C. cunicularium highlights the additive effect of ecogeographical and behavioural factors in shaping insular biodiversity.

Additional keywords: Cretan palaeoislands, historical demography, island biogeography, Mediterranean, mygalomorph spiders, niche modeling, phylogeography, spatial diffusion.


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