Going Deeper into High and Low Phylogenetic Relationships of Protura.


Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, Via A. Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy. [Email]


Proturans are small, wingless, soil-dwelling arthropods, generally associated with the early diversification of Hexapoda. Their bizarre morphology, together with conflicting results of molecular studies, has nevertheless made their classification ambiguous. Furthermore, their limited dispersal capability (due to the primarily absence of wings) and their euedaphic lifestyle have greatly complicated species-level identification. Mitochondrial and nuclear markers have been applied herein to investigate and summarize proturan systematics at different hierarchical levels. Two new mitochondrial genomes are described and included in a phylum-level phylogenetic analysis, but the position of Protura could not be resolved with confidence due to an accelerated rate of substitution and extensive gene rearrangements. Mitochondrial and nuclear loci were also applied in order to revise the intra-class systematics, recovering three proturan orders and most of the families/subfamilies included as monophyletic, with the exception of the subfamily Acerentominae. At the species level, most morphologically described species were confirmed using molecular markers, with some exceptions, and the advantages of including nuclear, as well as mitochondrial, markers and morphology are discussed. At all levels, an enlarged taxon sampling and the integration of data from different sources may be of significant help in solving open questions that still persist on the evolutionary history of Protura.


Pancrustacea,basal hexapods,coneheads,mitogenomics,phylogeny,species-delimitation,