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Proc Biol Sci. 2016 Mar 30;283(1827):20160179. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0179.

Oceanic dispersal, vicariance and human introduction shaped the modern distribution of the termites Reticulitermes, Heterotermes and Coptotermes.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543, Singapore Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia thomas.bourgui@gmail.com.
2
School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia.
3
Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic.
4
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Sorbonne Universités, iEES-Paris, Bondy U 242, France Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris Cité, LEEC, Villetaneuse EA 4443, France.
5
Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium.
6
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543, Singapore School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia 6009, Australia.

Abstract

Reticulitermes, Heterotermes and Coptotermes form a small termite clade with partly overlapping distributions. Although native species occur across all continents, the factors influencing their distribution are poorly known. Here, we reconstructed the historical biogeography of these termites using mitochondrial genomes of species collected on six continents. Our analyses showed that Reticulitermes split from Heterotermes + Coptotermesat 59.5 Ma (49.9-69.5 Ma 95% CI), yet the oldest split within Reticulitermes(Eurasia and North America) is 16.1 Ma (13.4-19.5 Ma) and the oldest split within Heterotermes + Coptotermesis 36.0 Ma (33.9-40.5 Ma). We detected 14 disjunctions between biogeographical realms, all of which occurred within the last 34 Ma, not only after the break-up of Pangaea, but also with the continents in similar to current positions. Land dispersal over land bridges explained four disjunctions, oceanic dispersal by wood rafting explained eight disjunctions, and human introduction was the source of two recent disjunctions. These wood-eating termites, therefore, appear to have acquired their modern worldwide distribution through multiple dispersal processes, with oceanic dispersal and human introduction favoured by the ecological traits of nesting in wood and producing replacement reproductives.

KEYWORDS:

Isoptera; Rhinotermitidae; long distance dispersal; molecular clock

PMID:
27030416
PMCID:
PMC4822470
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2016.0179
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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