Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography

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Taxonomic revision and insights into the speciation mode of the spider Dysdera erythrina species complex (Araneae: Dysderidae): sibling species with sympatric distributions

Milan Rezac , Miquel Arnedo , Vera Opatova , Jana Musilova , Veronika Řezáčová , Jiří Král


Spiders of the genus Dysdera are specialised predators of woodlice. Here we investigate species limits in the D. erythrina complex by integrating phenotypic, cytogenetic, and molecular data and use this information to gain further knowledge on its origin and evolution. The species do not show any obvious differences in habitat preference, and some of them even occur sympatrically at certain sites. The species probably feed on the same type of prey: they readily capture woodlice. On the other hand, they differ in body size, mouthparts shape and size, sculpture of carapace, morphology of the copulatory organs, karyotype, and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Our data suggest that karyotype evolution of the complex included chromosome fusions and fissions as well as translocations (between autosomes as well as autosomes and sex chromosomes). We hypothesize that chromosome rearrangements generating reproductive incompatibility played a primary role in speciation within Dysdera complexes. Dysdera spiders are poor dispersers, and their original distribution areas (forested areas in the Mediterranean) were repeatedly fragmented during Quarternary climatic oscilations facilitating integration of chromosome rearrangements into karyotypes by genetic drift. Sympatric occurrence of closely related species might have been promoted by prey segregation as suggested by differentiation in body size in co-ocurring species.

IS16071  Accepted 03 May 2017

© CSIRO 2017