Cophylogenetic relationships between penguins and their chewing lice


Jonathan Banks, Entomology, 320 Morrill Hall, University of Illinois, 505 S. Goodwin Ave, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.
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It is generally thought that the evolution of obligate parasites should be linked intimately to the evolution of their hosts and that speciation by the hosts should cause speciation of their parasites. The penguins and their chewing lice present a rare opportunity to examine codivergence between a complete host order and its parasitic lice. We estimated a phylogeny for all 15 species of lice parasitising all 17 species of penguins from the third domain of the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal rRNA gene, a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene and 55 morphological characters. We found no evidence of extensive cospeciation between penguins and their chewing lice using TreeMap 2.02β. Despite the paucity of cospeciation, there is support for significant congruence between the louse and penguin phylogenies due to possible failure to speciate events (parasites not speciating in response to their hosts speciating).