Sven Winter

Sven Winter


A molecular phylogeny and divergence times of the weevil tribe Apionini (Brentidae, Curculionoidea, Coleoptera).

Apioninae (Brentidae, Curculionoidea, Coleoptera) are highly divers and with ca. 2200 species the second biggest group of weevils within the superfamily Curculionoidea. The systematic position of Apioninae within the superfamily Curculionoidea as well as the systematic classification within has been discusses for decades, but extensive phylogenetic studies are still missing so far. To investigate the phylogeny within Apioninae, especially within the tribe Apionini, I used a molecular dataset of five marker genes (COI, CytB, Ef1α, mt 16S rRNA and nc 28S rRNA). 119 species from all subtribes within Apionini, (except Metapiina and Prototrichapiina) were included in the present study. The resulting maximum- likelihood tree confirms Apioninae as subfamily within Brentidae. It also shows nearly all subtribes as monophyla, except Synapiina, Kalcapiina and Aspidapiina based on the classification system of Bouchard et al. (2011). Strongly supported sistergroup relationships between many subtribes were identified for the first time, however deeper nodes are still not supported with high bootstrap values. Divergence time estimation using an uncorrelated lognormal relaxed-clock model shows Apioninae occurred for the first time during the mid-Cretaceous followed by a rapid radiation, possibly triggered by the diversification of flowering plants (angiosperms). This study is the most comprehensive till today and indicates the need of taxonomic revision for the subtribes Synapiina, Kalcapiina and Aspidapiina and some genera within Aplemonina, Oxystomatina and Exapiina. It also provides a solid base for future examinations on host plant associations and their impact of the diversification of angiosperm-related apionine weevils.

Link to E-Thesis