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      The evolution of head structures in lower Diptera

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      Life sciences, Diptera, Morphology, Head, Evolution

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          The head of adult dipterans is mainly characterized by modifications and more or less far-reaching reductions of the mouthparts (e.g., mandibles and maxillae), linked with the specialization on liquid food and the reduced necessity to process substrates mechanically. In contrast, the compound eyes and the antennae, sense organs used for orientation and for finding a suitable mating partner and oviposition site, are well developed. Some evolutionary novelties are specific adaptations to feeding on liquefied substrates, such as labellae with furrows or pseudotracheae on their surface, and the strongly developed pre– and postcerebral pumping apparatuses. In some dipteran groups specialized on blood, the mandibles are still present as piercing stylets. They are completely reduced in the vast majority of families. Within the group far-reaching modifications of the antennae take place, with a strongly reduced number of segments and a specific configuration in Brachycera. The feeding habits and mouthparts of dipteran larvae are much more diverse than in the adults. The larval head is prognathous and fully exposed in the dipteran groundplan and most groups of lower Diptera. In Tipuloidea and Brachycera it is partly or largely retracted, and the sclerotized elements of the external head capsule are partly or fully reduced. The larval head of Cyclorrhapha is largely reduced. A complex and unique feature of this group is the cephaloskeleton. The movability of the larvae is limited due to the lack of thoracic legs. This can be partly compensated by the mouthparts, which are involved in locomotion in different groups. The mouth hooks associated with the cyclorrhaphan cephaloskeleton provide anchorage in the substrate.

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          Extinction rates should not be estimated from molecular phylogenies.

          Molecular phylogenies contain information about the tempo and mode of species diversification through time. Because extinction leaves a characteristic signature in the shape of molecular phylogenetic trees, many studies have used data from extant taxa only to infer extinction rates. This is a promising approach for the large number of taxa for which extinction rates cannot be estimated from the fossil record. Here, I explore the consequences of violating a common assumption made by studies of extinction from phylogenetic data. I show that when diversification rates vary among lineages, simple estimators based on the birth-death process are unable to recover true extinction rates. This is problematic for phylogenetic trees with complete taxon sampling as well as for the simpler case of clades with known age and species richness. Given the ubiquity of variation in diversification rates among lineages and clades, these results suggest that extinction rates should not be estimated in the absence of fossil data.
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            The Phylogeny of the Extant Hexapod Orders

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              Single-copy nuclear genes resolve the phylogeny of the holometabolous insects

              Background Evolutionary relationships among the 11 extant orders of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, called Holometabola, remain either unresolved or contentious, but are extremely important as a context for accurate comparative biology of insect model organisms. The most phylogenetically enigmatic holometabolan insects are Strepsiptera or twisted wing parasites, whose evolutionary relationship to any other insect order is unconfirmed. They have been controversially proposed as the closest relatives of the flies, based on rDNA, and a possible homeotic transformation in the common ancestor of both groups that would make the reduced forewings of Strepsiptera homologous to the reduced hindwings of Diptera. Here we present evidence from nucleotide sequences of six single-copy nuclear protein coding genes used to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and estimate evolutionary divergence times for all holometabolan orders. Results Our results strongly support Hymenoptera as the earliest branching holometabolan lineage, the monophyly of the extant orders, including the fleas, and traditionally recognized groupings of Neuropteroidea and Mecopterida. Most significantly, we find strong support for a close relationship between Coleoptera (beetles) and Strepsiptera, a previously proposed, but analytically controversial relationship. Exploratory analyses reveal that this relationship cannot be explained by long-branch attraction or other systematic biases. Bayesian divergence times analysis, with reference to specific fossil constraints, places the origin of Holometabola in the Carboniferous (355 Ma), a date significantly older than previous paleontological and morphological phylogenetic reconstructions. The origin and diversification of most extant insect orders began in the Triassic, but flourished in the Jurassic, with multiple adaptive radiations producing the astounding diversity of insect species for which these groups are so well known. Conclusion These findings provide the most complete evolutionary framework for future comparative studies on holometabolous model organisms and contribute strong evidence for the resolution of the 'Strepsiptera problem', a long-standing and hotly debated issue in insect phylogenetics.

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                ScienceOpen Research
                01 December 2014
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                [1 ]Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, FSU Jena, 07743 Jena, Germany
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                [* ]Corresponding author's e-mail address: Katharina.Schneeberg@
                © 2014 K. Schneeberg and R.G. Beutel.

                This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at .

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                Figures: 9, Tables: 2, References: 197, Pages: 27
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