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Speciational History in a Diverse Clade of Habitat-Specialized Spiders (Araneae: Nesticidae: Nesticus): Inferences from Geographic-Based Sampling

Marshal C. Hedin
Evolution
Vol. 51, No. 6 (Dec., 1997), pp. 1929-1945
DOI: 10.2307/2411014
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2411014
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Speciational History in a Diverse Clade of Habitat-Specialized Spiders (Araneae: Nesticidae: Nesticus): Inferences from Geographic-Based Sampling
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Abstract

This paper summarizes the results of an initial effort to reconstruct the speciational history of cave spiders (Nesticus) from the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America. The Appalachian Nesticus fauna includes a large series of about 30 species distributed across islandlike cave and montane habitats. Many of the species are geographically restricted; all of the species are found in allopatry. Observed patterns of morphological variation and biogeographic evidence suggest that species diversification in this lineage may have occurred recently, perhaps in response to Pleistocene climatic fluctuations. To address questions about the spatial and temporal dynamics of Nesticus speciation, while accounting for potential phylogenetic difficulties, I have gathered nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences for a sample of individuals from 81 populations representing 28 Nesticus species. Analyses of these data indicate that considerable genetic divergence exists within and among currently recognized morphological species. Consistent with relatively deep species divergences, most of which likely predate the Pleistocene, is a prevailing pattern of phylogenetic concordance between taxonomic species and monophyletic gene tree lineages. The few deviations from monophyly detected can be tentatively attributed to a peripatric mode of speciation. Although species limits as inferred by the molecular data are generally concordant with patterns of morphological continuity and discontinuity in genitalia, there is evidence to suggest that cryptic phylogenetic lineages exist within some morphologically continuous units. This observation, in combination with the general depth of species lineages, makes any argument about rapid evolution in Nesticus genitalic characteristics unnecessary.

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