Longitudinal gradients in the phylogenetic community structure of European Tenebrionidae (Coleoptera) do not coincide with the major routes of postglacial colonization


W. Ulrich, Dept of Animal Ecology, Nicolaus Copernicus Univ. in Toruń, Lwowska 1, PL-87-100 Toruń, Poland. E-mail: ulrichw@umk.pl


Species specific colonization abilities and biotic and abiotic filters influence the local and regional faunal composition along colonization trajectories. Using a recent compilation of the occurrences of 1373 darkling beetle (Tenebrionidae) species and subspecies in 49 European countries and major islands, we reconstructed the tenebrionid postglacial colonization of middle and northern Europe from southern European glacial refuges and linked species composition to latitudinal and longitudinal gradients in phylogenetic relatedness across Europe. The majority of European islands and mainland countries appeared to be phylogenetically clustered. We did not find significant latitudinal trends in average phylogenetic relatedness of regional faunas along the supposed postglacial colonization routes but detected a strong positive correlation between mean relatedness and longitude of mainland faunas and an opposite negative correlation for island faunas. The strength of phylogenetic relatedness in the regional tenebrionid faunas decreased significantly with latitude and to a lesser degree with longitude. These findings are in accordance with two trajectories of postglacial colonization from centres in Spain and middle Asia that caused a strong longitudinal trend in the phylogenetic relatedness. Subsequent pair-wise analyses of species co-occurrences showed that species of similar distributional ranges tend to be phylogenetically clustered and species of different spatial distribution to be phylogenetically segregated. Both findings are in accordance with the concept of ‘range size heritability’. Our study demonstrates that taxonomic data are sufficiently powerful to infer continental wide patterns in phylogenetic relatedness that can be linked to colonization history and geographic information.