Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

Cladistic biogeography of afromontane spiders

CE Griswold

Australian Systematic Botany 4(1) 73 - 89
Published: 1991


The application of cladistic data is seen as crucial to answering questions regarding the definition, mode of origin and age of historical biogeographic patterns. From the cladograms and distributional data for four groups of afromontane spiders [Microstigmata (Microstigmatidae), the Moggridgea quercina group (Migidae), and the subfamilies Vidoleini and Phyxelidini (Amaurobiidae)] a set of nine disjunct areas of endemism is defined for African and Malagasy forests. Taxonlarea cladograms are combined through a parsimony method to produce a general area cladogram. General conclusions are: (1) Madagascar is related to eastern Africa and/or eastern South Africa rather than being the sister area to all of Africa; (2) eastern South Africa shows affinities with tropical Africa rather than with the nearby Cape region; (3) the Cape region of South Africa is highly distinctive; and (4) the area cladogram is hard to reconcile with historical scenarios involving primarily dispersal or Pleistocene vicariance events, and a Mesozoic origin for parts of the biogeographic pattern for afromontane spiders is possible.

© CSIRO 1991

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