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1 July 2009 Land Snail Models in Island Biogeography: A Tale of Two Snails
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Oceanic islands have long been important in evolutionary biology. Land snails are a major component of oceanic island biotas and have much to offer as systems for addressing major questions in evolution and biogeography. We review patterns of within-archipelago biogeography and diversification in two large Hawaiian land snail groups, the Succineidae and the Achatinellinae. Molecular studies suggest that long-distance oceanic dispersal and colonization of the Hawaiian Islands has been rare but between-island dispersal has been far more common. Long-distance oceanic dispersal is the most important driver for deep phylogenetic divergence. Dispersal is also important within the archipelago, while among-island vicariant processes result in only a portion of tip clade diversity. The Achatinellinae are monophyletic but there is evidence of a deep phylogenetic split between the two Hawaiian succineid clades, a result of two independent colonizations reflecting two oceanic dispersal events. Hawaiian succineids have also dispersed to Samoa and Tahiti. Dispersal is an important biogeographical phenomenon, and its role in shaping distributions of island lineages should not be underestimated. Because of their relatively sedentary nature, yet a proclivity for long-distance passive dispersal, island snails can facilitate insights into mechanisms of evolutionary diversification. Important phylogenetic lessons are emerging from studies of island snails and such studies will eventually allow estimation of ages of species groups, speciation rates, timing of the processes involved in community assembly, and other dynamics, all of which are important contributions to the overall understanding of evolution.
Brenden S. Holland and Robert H. Cowie "Land Snail Models in Island Biogeography: A Tale of Two Snails *," American Malacological Bulletin 27(1/2), (1 July 2009).
Received: 9 November 2008; Accepted: 23 January 2009; Published: 1 July 2009

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