Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography
Invertebrate Systematics

Invertebrate Systematics

Volume 27 Number 5 2013

The 95 species of house centipedes are survivors of more than 400 million years of evolutionary history. Adding new molecular data for species from previously unsampled tropical regions, the relationships of this ancient group proved to be remarkably stable to alternative methods of analysis. The best-fit model of diversification rate for these centipedes is consistent with them being ‘living fossils’.

Over the last two centuries, several classification schemes of Palaemonoidea have been proposed and modified, but the classification of Palaemonoidea remains unresolved. In this study, mitochondrial and nuclear genes were used to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships within Palaemonoidea, and the molecular data reveal some discrepancies with the current classification. The results suggest some taxonomic characters of Palaemonoidea might reflect their environmental transition from sea to fresh water, and a full revision of Palaemonoidea and its constituent taxa are recommended.

Pteridoiulus is an aberrant, monotypic genus in the millipede family Julida, known only from the eastern Alps (Austria). We include mitochondrial 16S and nuclear 28S sequences for Pteridoiulus in an expanded version of our previous molecular dataset for Julidae. Pteridoiulus forms a robust clade with Heteroiulus, another monotypic genus known only from the southern Alps (Italy), a distribution pattern that seems unique.

Very little research has focussed on the phylogeny of freshwater invertebrate taxa occurring in the Afrotropical region, which has historically been poorly sampled. Here, we used a combination of genetics and morphological characters to describe a newly discovered freshwater crab species from Zimbabwe. This study adds to the growing number of freshwater crab species and builds towards resolving their phylogeny.

Despite the advanced level of environmental protection policy in Western Australia, inadvertent extinctions of subterranean species are still possible. Two new crustaceans from southern Yilgarn significantly extend the expected occurrence of stygofauna in Australia. This study highlights limitations in environmental impact assessment practices, suggesting potential improvements with global relevance in regions where short-range endemics coincide with extraction of mineral resources.

The family Zoropsidae was only known in South America by a single genus, Itatiaya. We present a new species of zoropsid from Chile, and after a phylogenetic analysis of the family we conclude that it belongs to an unknown genus. As a result of such analysis, the new genus Cauquenia is placed in the subfamily Griswoldiinae, and the cribellum is confirmed as a puzzling case of evolution of a complex morphological structure.

Scolopendromorpha is one of the largest predator groups in terrestrial ecosystems and an outstanding taxon to study evolutionary biology. Here we re-evaluate the phylogeny of scolopendromorph centipedes using a much denser sampling than previous studies and combining multiple genes with morphological traits with the aim of testing current taxonomic groupings. Our results are congruent among different analytical schemes but show incongruence with the current taxonomy of some groups, leading to changes in the current classification of this distinctive order.

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