Transcriptomics illuminate the phylogenetic backbone of tiger beetles
Gough, Harlan et al. (2020), Transcriptomics illuminate the phylogenetic backbone of tiger beetles, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8w9ghx3h9
Phylogenomics is progressing rapidly, allowing large strides forward into our understanding of the tree of life. In
this study, we generated transcriptomes from ethanol-preserved specimens of 13 tiger beetle species (Coleoptera:
Cicindelinae) and one Scaritinae outgroup. From these 14 transcriptomes and seven publicly available transcriptomes,
we recovered an average of 2538 loci for phylogenetic analysis. We constructed an evolutionary tree of tiger beetles
to examine deep-level relationships and examined the extent to which the composition of the dataset, missing data,
gene tree inconsistency and codon position saturation impacted phylogenetic accuracy. Ethanol-preserved specimens
yielded similar numbers of loci to specimens originally preserved in costly reagents, showcasing more flexibility in
transcriptomics than anticipated. The number of loci and gene tree inconsistency had less impact on downstream
results than third codon position saturation and missing data. Our results recovered tiger beetles as sister to
Carabidae with strong support, confirming their taxonomic status as an independent family within Adephaga. Within
tiger beetles, phylogenetic relationships were robust across all nodes. This new phylogenomic backbone represents a
useful framework for future endeavours in tiger beetle systematics and serves as a starting point for the development
of less costly target capture toolkits to expand the taxonomic breadth of the future tiger beetle tree of life.
For complete information on collection, extraction and sequencing see (Gough et al. 2020).