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Daniele Salvi currently works at the Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, Università degli Studi dell'Aquila. Daniele does research in Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Biology and Zoology.
Hycleus is the most speciose genus of the beetle family Meloidae, with almost 430 species widespread in Africa and Eurasia. Its systematic has never been investigated but, according to the mesosternal morphology, it has been divided by Pardo Alcaide into three main “sections”: Mesogorbatus, with almost 70 species; Mesotaeniatus, with about 50 species and Mesoscutatus with almost 300 species. Within these “sections”, different lineages have been identified according to other morphological characters. Furthermore, previous and ongoing studies on the phylogeny of this family pointed out that the genera Paractenodia (five spp.) and Ceroctis (59 spp.) are strictly related to the genus Hycleus and should probably be included within it. The large number of species and the extensive distribution of this taxonomic complex stimulate the exploration of the phylogenetic relationships among lineages, the biogeographic histories and speciation patterns in some interesting species groups embedded in Hycleus.
The main aim of this PhD project is to reconstruct the molecular phylogeny of the genus Hycleus, by including as many species as possible, to clarify the relationships among them and test the taxonomic value of the morphologically based “sections”, as well as of Paractenodia and Ceroctis. Furthermore, phylogeographic approach will be used to explore the biogeographic history and speciation processes of the some species groups (e.g. Hycleus polymorphus complex).