Triaenonychidae Sørensen in L. Koch, 1886 is a large family of Opiliones with ∼480 described species broadly distributed across temperate forests in the Southern Hemisphere. However, it remains poorly understood taxonomically, as no comprehensive phylogenetic work has ever been undertaken. In this study we capitalise on samples largely collected by us during the last two decades and use Sanger DNA-sequencing techniques to produce a large phylogenetic tree with 300 triaenonychid terminals representing nearly 50% of triaenonychid genera and including representatives from all the major geographic areas from which they are known. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods recover the family as diphyletic, placing Lomanella Pocock, 1903 as the sister group to the New Zealand endemic family Synthetonychiidae Forster, 1954. With the exception of the Laurasian representatives of the family, all landmasses contain non-monophyletic assemblages of taxa. To determine whether this non-monophyly was the result of Gondwanan vicariance, ancient cladogenesis due to habitat regionalisation, or more recent over-water dispersal, we inferred divergence times. We found that most divergence times between landmasses predate Gondwanan breakup, though there has been at least one instance of transoceanic dispersal – to New Caledonia. In all, we identify multiple places in the phylogeny where taxonomic revision is needed, and transfer Lomanella outside of Triaenonychidae in order to maintain monophyly of the family.
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Vol. 34 • No. 6