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The Strait of Gibraltar is an ineffective palaeogeographic barrier for some flightless darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: Pimelia)
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society  (IF3.286),  Pub Date : 2021-09-23, DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab088
Paloma Mas-Peinado, Mario García-París, José L Ruiz, David Buckley

The geographic distribution of a species is shaped by its biology and by environmental and palaeogeographic factors that interact at different spatial-temporal scales, which leads to distributions and diversification patterns observed between and within lineages. The darkling beetle genus Pimelia has been diversifying for more than 31.2 Mya showing different colonization patterns after the opening of the Gibraltar Strait 5 Mya. Three of the 14 subgenera of Pimelia have populations on both sides of the Strait. Through extensive sampling and the analysis of three molecular markers, we determine levels of intra- and interspecific genetic variation, identify evolutionary lineages in subgenera, estimate their temporal origin and distribution ranges and discuss the historical basis for the geographic and diversification patterns of Pimelia around the Strait. This single geographical feature acted both as a barrier and as a dispersal route for different Pimelia species. The Strait has represented a strong barrier for the subgenus Magrebmelia since the Middle Miocene. However, the subgenera Amblyptera and Amblypteraca share repetitive signatures of post-Messinian colonization across the Strait, possibly driven by stochastic or ‘catastrophic’ events such as tsunamis. Our demographic analyses support Wallace’s hypothesis on insect dispersal stochasticity. Some taxonomic changes, including the designation of a lectotype for Pimelia maura, are also proposed.