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Ancient diversification of Hyposmocoma moths in Hawaii

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Title:Ancient diversification of Hyposmocoma moths in Hawaii
Authors:Haines, William P.
Schmitz, Patrick
Rubinoff, Daniel
Date Issued:Mar 2014
Publisher:Nature Communications
Abstract:Island biogeography is fundamental to understanding colonization, speciation and extinction.
Remote volcanic archipelagoes represent ideal natural laboratories to study biogeography
because they offer a discrete temporal and spatial context for colonization and speciation.
The moth genus Hyposmocoma is one of very few lineages that diversified across the entire
Hawaiian Archipelago, giving rise to over 400 species, including many restricted to the
remote northwestern atolls and pinnacles, remnants of extinct volcanoes. Here, we report
that Hyposmocoma is B15 million years old, in contrast with previous studies of the Hawaiian
biota, which have suggested that most lineages colonized the archipelago after the
emergence of the current high islands (B5 Myr ago). We show that Hyposmocoma has
dispersed from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to the current high islands more
than 20 times. The ecological requirements of extant groups of Hyposmocoma provide
insights into vanished ecosystems on islands that have long since eroded.
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