Evidence for speciation underground in diving beetles (Dytiscidae) from a subterranean archipelago

Barbara Langille, Josephine Hyde, Kathleen Saint, Tessa Bradford, Danielle Stringer, Simon Tierney, William Humphreys, Andrew Austin & Steven Cooper
Most subterranean animals are assumed to have evolved from surface ancestors following colonisation of a cave system, however very few studies have raised the possibility of ‘subterranean speciation’ in underground habitats (i.e. obligate cave-dwelling organisms (troglobionts) descended from troglobiotic ancestors). Numerous endemic subterranean diving beetle species from spatially-discrete calcrete aquifers in Western Australia (stygobionts) have evolved independently from surface ancestors; however, several cases of sympatric sister species raises the possibility of subterranean speciation. We tested...
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