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Data from: Variable molecular markers for the order Mantophasmatodea (Insecta)

Cite this dataset

Dool, Serena E. et al. (2017). Data from: Variable molecular markers for the order Mantophasmatodea (Insecta) [Dataset]. Dryad.


The recently discovered insect order Mantophasmatodea currently comprises 19 Southern African species. These mainly occur in allopatry, have high levels of colour polymorphism and communicate via species- and gender-specific vibratory signals. High levels of interspecific morphological conservatism mean that cryptic species are likely to be uncovered. These aspects of Mantophasmatodean biology make them an ideal group in which to investigate population divergence due to habitat-specific adaptation, sexual selection and potentially sensory speciation. Lack of appropriate genetic markers has thus far rendered such studies unfeasible. To address this need, the first microsatellite loci for this order were developed. Fifty polymorphic loci were designed specifically for Karoophasma biedouwense (Austrophasmatidae), out of which 23 were labelled and tested for amplification across the order using 2-3 individuals from 10 species, representing all four currently known families. A Bayesian COI topology was reconstructed and divergence dates within the order were estimated for the first time. Amplification success and levels of polymorphism were compared with genetic divergence and time since divergence. In agreement with studies on vertebrate taxa, both amplification and variability were negatively correlated with distance (temporal and genetic). The high number of informative loci will offer sufficient resolution for both broad level population genetic analysis and individual based pedigree or parentage analyses for most species in Austrophasmatidae, with at least some loci available for the other families. This resource will facilitate research into the evolutionary biology of this understudied but fascinating group.

Usage notes


South Africa