International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Speciation in the Australian Amitermes Group: First insights from molecular genomics

Author(s):
Bastian Heimburger, Bastian Heimburger , Stefanie Agne , Paul Schmidt , Sun Diqiu , Tamara Hartke
Institution(s):
JF Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany; JF Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany ; JF Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany ; JF Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany ; JF Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany ; JF Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
The Australian Amitermes group (Blattodea: Termitidae) is the most species-rich and diverse group of termites in Australia. The success of this group, diverging during a time of rapid climate change on the continent, can help us understand how termites have adapted to their environment and may continue to do so under future climate-change scenarios. We began by sampling from the species-rich area of Western Australia near the proposed origin of Drepanotermes, one of the major genera of the Australian Amitermes Group, to reconstruct the diversification of this group after its colonization of Australia. The information from mitochondrial genome sequencing and selected nuclear genes recovered a monophyletic Drepanotermes split into a clade of species with extensive and another with restricted geographic ranges. All Amitermes we have sequenced to date are basal to Drepanotermes and separate into a number of clades without clear geographical, morphological or nesting trait divisions. Our preliminary estimate of the divergence of Drepanotermes from Amitermes at 20 ± 5 Mya is probably not accurate; we expect future analysis will recover the split between the Australian Amitermes Group and the rest of the globally distributed Amitermes to have occurred around this time, with the Drepanotermes-Amitermes division being more recent, in congruence with other taxa that arrived in Australia after its collision with the Southeast Asian plate. This initial dataset suggests intriguing stories of multiple introductions, waves of diversification, undescribed diversity, and incomplete lineage sorting and/or introgression during divergence, which will be revealed as we collect more complete data from additional Australian Amitermes Group taxa.
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