Commonly-encountered antlion species Brachynemurus sackeni appears to represent two cryptic species

"Phylogeographic Investigations of the Widespread, Arid-Adapted Antlion Brachynemurus sackeni Hagen (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae)
Joseph S. Wilson, Kevin A. Williams, Clayton F. Gunnell, and James P. Pitts

Department of Biology, Utah State University, 5305 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, USA
Received 10 June 2010; Accepted 16 November 2010
Academic Editor: Coby Schal

Copyright © 2010 Joseph S. Wilson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Several recent studies investigating patterns of diversification in widespread desert-adapted vertebrates have associated major periods of genetic differentiation to late Neogene mountain-building events; yet few projects have addressed these patterns in widespread invertebrates. We examine phylogeographic patterns in the widespread antlion species Brachynemurus sackeni Hagen (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae) using a region of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase I (COI). We then use a molecular clock to estimate divergence dates for the major lineages. Our analyses resulted in a phylogeny that shows two distinct lineages, both of which are likely distinct species. This reveals the first cryptic species-complex in Myrmeleontidae. The genetic split between lineages dates to about 3.8–4.7 million years ago and may be associated with Neogene mountain building. The phylogeographic pattern does not match patterns found in other taxa. Future analyses within this species-complex may uncover a unique evolutionary history in this group."

Two recent observations of this species complex in California:

Posted on June 18, 2015 01:13 PM by jaykeller jaykeller


I do wonder how many cryptic species are out there... Animals and plants that we've always called one species may have been different all along!

Posted by sambiology about 9 years ago

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