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      Causes of endemic radiation in the Caribbean: evidence from the historical biogeography and diversification of the butterfly genus Calisto (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Satyrini)

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          Calisto is the largest butterfly genus in the West Indies but its systematics, historical biogeography and the causes of its diversification have not been previously rigorously evaluated. Several studies attempting to explain the wide-ranging diversity of Calisto gave different weights to vicariance, dispersal and adaptive radiation. We utilized molecular phylogenetic approaches and secondary calibrations points to estimate lineage ages. In addition, we used the dispersal-extinction-cladogenesis model and Caribbean paleogeographical information to reconstruct ancestral geographical distributions. We also evaluated different models of diversification to estimate the dynamics of lineage radiation within Calisto. By understanding the evolution of Calisto butterflies, we attempt to identify the main processes acting on insular insect diversity and the causes of its origin and its maintenance.


          The crown age of Calisto was estimated to the early Oligocene (31 ± 5 Ma), and a single shift in diversification rate following a diversity-dependent speciation process was the best explanation for the present-day diversity found within the genus. A major increase in diversification rate was recovered at 14 Ma, following geological arrangements that favoured the availability of empty niches. Inferred ancestral distributional ranges suggested that the origin of extant Calisto is in agreement with a vicariant model and the origin of the Cuban lineage was likely the result of vicariance caused by the Cuba-Hispaniola split. A long-distance dispersal was the best explanation for the colonization of Jamaica and the Bahamas.


          The ancestral geographical distribution of Calisto is in line with the paleogeographical model of Caribbean colonization, which favours island-to-island vicariance. Because the sister lineage of Calisto remains ambiguous, its arrival to the West Indies remains to be explained, although, given its age and historical biogeography, the hypothesized GAARlandia land bridge might have been a plausible introduction route from continental America. Intra-island radiation caused by ecological innovation and the abiotic creation of niche spaces was found to be the main force shaping Calisto diversity and island endemism in Hispaniola and Cuba.

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          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12862-014-0199-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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              APE: Analyses of Phylogenetics and Evolution in R language.

              Analysis of Phylogenetics and Evolution (APE) is a package written in the R language for use in molecular evolution and phylogenetics. APE provides both utility functions for reading and writing data and manipulating phylogenetic trees, as well as several advanced methods for phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis (e.g. comparative and population genetic methods). APE takes advantage of the many R functions for statistics and graphics, and also provides a flexible framework for developing and implementing further statistical methods for the analysis of evolutionary processes. The program is free and available from the official R package archive at APE is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

                Author and article information

                [ ]Laboratory of Genetics, Department of Biology, University of Turku, FI-20014 Turku, Finland
                [ ]School of Biological Sciences, University of South Bohemia and Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre AS CR, CZ-37005 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
                [ ]División de Colecciones Zoológicas y Sistemática, Instituto de Ecología y Sistemática, Carretera de Varona km 3.5, Capdevila, Boyeros Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
                [ ]McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 USA
                BMC Evol Biol
                BMC Evol. Biol
                BMC Evolutionary Biology
                BioMed Central (London )
                16 September 2014
                16 September 2014
                : 14
                : 1
                © Matos-Maraví et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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