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Curr Biol. 2014 Aug 4;24(15):1765-71. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.034. Epub 2014 Jul 17.

Phylogenomics resolves a spider backbone phylogeny and rejects a prevailing paradigm for orb web evolution.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences and Auburn University Museum of Natural History, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA. Electronic address: jbond@auburn.edu.
2
Department of Biological Sciences and Auburn University Museum of Natural History, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.
3
Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA.
4
Department of Biology, University of Vermont, 120A Marsh Life Science Building, 109 Carrigan Drive, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.

Abstract

Spiders represent an ancient predatory lineage known for their extraordinary biomaterials, including venoms and silks. These adaptations make spiders key arthropod predators in most terrestrial ecosystems. Despite ecological, biomedical, and biomaterial importance, relationships among major spider lineages remain unresolved or poorly supported. Current working hypotheses for a spider "backbone" phylogeny are largely based on morphological evidence, as most molecular markers currently employed are generally inadequate for resolving deeper-level relationships. We present here a phylogenomic analysis of spiders including taxa representing all major spider lineages. Our robust phylogenetic hypothesis recovers some fundamental and uncontroversial spider clades, but rejects the prevailing paradigm of a monophyletic Orbiculariae, the most diverse lineage, containing orb-weaving spiders. Based on our results, the orb web either evolved much earlier than previously hypothesized and is ancestral for a majority of spiders or else it has multiple independent origins, as hypothesized by precladistic authors. Cribellate deinopoid orb weavers that use mechanically adhesive silk are more closely related to a diverse clade of mostly webless spiders than to the araneoid orb-weaving spiders that use adhesive droplet silks. The fundamental shift in our understanding of spider phylogeny proposed here has broad implications for interpreting the evolution of spiders, their remarkable biomaterials, and a key extended phenotype--the spider web.

PMID:
25042592
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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