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Phylogeny, Evolution, and Biogeography of the North American Trapdoor Spider family Euctenizidae (Araneae: Mygalomorphae) and the discovery of a new ‘Endangered Living Fossil’ along California’s Central Coast

Citation

Bond, Jason E. et al. (2021), Phylogeny, Evolution, and Biogeography of the North American Trapdoor Spider family Euctenizidae (Araneae: Mygalomorphae) and the discovery of a new ‘Endangered Living Fossil’ along California’s Central Coast, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25338/B82W5Z

Abstract

We report here the discovery of a remarkable new monotypic mygalomorph spider genus, known only from one geographical location along the central coast of California. The single relict species comprising Cryptocteniza kawtakn. gen. n. sp., is morphologically distinct and geographically isolated from other related genera, with its closest phylogenetic relatives found much further to the east in New Mexico and Arizona. Using a phylogenomic approach employing anchored hybrid enrichment, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of the family Euctenizidae Raven, 1985 to explore relationships among genera, affirmatively place previously undescribed taxa, explore rates of diversification, and reconstruct the group’s biogeography. A biogeographic analysis shows that extinction likely played a significant role in shaping the observed disjunct modern-day distribution of Cryptocteniza and its sister taxa. Our extinction hypothesis is further bolstered by a diversification rate analysis identifying considerably higher rates of speciation in other euctenizid lineages like AptostichusSimon, 1891. Consequently, changes in environmental conditions (or other related biotic and/or abiotic factors) may have spurred an adaptive radiation in related genera now widely distributed across the California Floristic Province biodiversity hotspot, with concomitant extinction in Cryptocteniza following the Miocene and establishment of a Mediterranean climate. Owing to its phylogenetic distinctiveness, incredibly narrow distribution and age, we show that Cryptocteniza meets all the criteria of an ‘Endangered Living Fossil’ and is consequently of grave conservation concern.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB 1937604

Evert and Marion Schlinger Foundation