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1 June 2003 ARBOREALITY AND MORPHOLOGICAL EVOLUTION IN GROUND BEETLES (CARABIDAE: HARPALINAE): TESTING THE TAXON PULSE MODEL
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Abstract

One-third to two-thirds of all tropical carabids, or ground beetles, are arboreal, and evolution of arboreality has been proposed to be a dead end in this group. Many arboreal carabids have unusual morphological features that have been proposed to be adaptations for life on vegetation, including large, hemispheric eyes; an elongated prothorax; long elytra; long legs; bilobed fourth tarsomeres; adhesive setae on tarsi; and pectinate claws. However, correlations between these features and arboreality have not been rigorously tested previously. I examined the evolution of arboreality and morphological features often associated with this habitat in a phylogenetic context. The number and rates of origins and losses of arboreality in carabids in the subfamily Harpalinae were inferred with parsimony and maximum-likelihood on a variety of phylogenetic hypotheses. Correlated evolution in arboreality and morphological characters was tested with concentrated changes tests, maximum-likelihood, and independent contrasts on optimal phylogenies. There is strong evidence that both arboreality and the morphological features examined originated multiple times and can be reversed, and in no case could the hypothesis of equal rates of gains and losses be rejected. Several features are associated with arboreality: adhesive setae on the tarsi, bilobed tarsomeres, and possibly pectinate claws and an elongated prothorax. Bulgy eyes, long legs, and long elytra were not correlated with arboreality and are probably not arboreal adaptations. The evolution of arboreal carabids has not been unidirectional. These beetles have experienced multiple gains and losses of arboreality and the morphological characters commonly associated with the arboreal habitat. The evolutionary process of unidirectional character change may not be as widespread as previously thought and reversal from specialized lifestyles or habitats may be common.

Karen A. Ober "ARBOREALITY AND MORPHOLOGICAL EVOLUTION IN GROUND BEETLES (CARABIDAE: HARPALINAE): TESTING THE TAXON PULSE MODEL," Evolution 57(6), 1343-1358, (1 June 2003). https://doi.org/10.1554/02-532
Received: 9 September 2002; Accepted: 3 January 2003; Published: 1 June 2003
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