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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2011 Jan;58(1):22-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2010.07.003. Epub 2010 Jul 17.

Evolutionary history and taxonomy of a short-horned grasshopper subfamily: the Melanoplinae (Orthoptera: Acrididae).

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Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, Université Joseph Fourier UMR CNRS 5553, Grenoble Cedex 09, France.


The Melanoplinae is one of the largest subfamilies of the Acrididae grasshoppers, with a Holarctic-Neotropical distribution. To investigate its controversial taxonomy and evolutionary history, we studied 19 species representative of its main tribes, and 7 Acridoidea outgroup species. More than 1650 base pairs of three regions of nuclear rDNA (18S, ITS1, 28S) and one mitochondrial rDNA (12S) were combined and used to construct parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenies. Our results correspond with the present geographical distribution of the taxa rather than the existing taxonomy based on morphological characters. The morphologically unclassified and atypical taxa group with the Neotropical Melanoplinae. The currently recognized Melanoplinae appear to be polyphyletic due to inclusion of the Mexican genus Netrosoma. The distribution of the American and Eurasiatic Melanoplinae fauna can be explained by climatic and geological events, such as the Andean uplift, that would have affected the diversification and migration of Neotropical taxa.

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