Mitochondrial DNA Phylogeny and Sequential Colonization of Canary Islands by Darkling Beetles of the Genus Pimelia (Tenebrionidae)

Carlos Juan, Pedro Oromi, Godfrey M. Hewitt


Fifteen species of the darkling beetle genus Pimelia (Tenebrionidae: Coleoptera) have been sequenced for a 365 b.p. portion of the mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I gene. Thirteen of these are endemic species inhabiting the Canarian archipelago in the Atlantic and the other two are continental conspecifics. This data set has been phylogenetically analysed by maximum parsimony and distance approaches and the resulting trees used to deduce sequential interisland colonization. This suggests patterns compatible with the geological dating of the islands, but with increasing uncertainty when older events are considered. A colonization sequence from Fuerteventura to Tenerife followed by Tenerife to Gran Canaria and La Gomera, and from the latter to La Palma and then to El Hierro is proposed for the genus. A relatively recent secondary colonization from Gran Canaria to Gomera is deduced.