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Extreme convergence in stick insect evolution: Phylogenetic placement of the Lord Howe Island tree lobster


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The 'tree lobsters' are an enigmatic group of robust, ground-dwelling stick insects (order Phasmatodea) from the subfamily Eurycanthinae, distributed in New Guinea, New Caledonia and associated islands. Its most famous member is the Lord Howe Island stick insect Dryococelus australis (Montrouzier), which was believed to have become extinct but was rediscovered in 2001 and is considered to be one of the rarest insects in the world. To resolve the evolutionary position of Dryococelus, we constructed a phylogeny from approximately 2.4 kb of mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data from representatives of all major phasmatodean lineages. Our data placed Dryococelus and the New Caledonian tree lobsters outside the New Guinean Eurycanthinae as members of an unrelated Australasian stick insect clade, the Lanceocercata. These results suggest a convergent origin of the 'tree lobster' body form. Our reanalysis of tree lobster characters provides additional support for our hypothesis of convergent evolution. We conclude that the phenotypic traits leading to the traditional classification are convergent adaptations to ground-living behaviour. Our molecular dating analyses indicate an ancient divergence (more than 22 Myr ago) between Dryococelus and its Australian relatives. Hence, Dryococelus represents a long-standing separate evolutionary lineage within the stick insects and must be regarded as a key taxon to protect with respect to phasmatodean diversity.
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Extreme convergence in stick insect evolution:
phylogenetic placement of the Lord Howe
Island tree lobster
Thomas R. Buckley
*, Dilini Attanayake
and Sven Bradler
Landcare Research, Private Bag 92170, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institut fu
¨r Zoologie und Anthropologie, Georg-August-Universita
Berliner Strasse 28, 37073 Go
¨ttingen, Germany
The ‘tree lobsters’ are an enigmatic group of robust, ground-dwelling stick insects (order Phasmatodea)
from the subfamily Eurycanthinae, distributed in New Guinea, New Caledonia and associated islands. Its
most famous member is the Lord Howe Island stick insect Dryococelus australis (Montrouzier), which was
believed to have become extinct but was rediscovered in 2001 and is considered to be one of the rarest
insects in the world. To resolve the evolutionary position of Dryococelus, we constructed a phylogeny from
approximately 2.4 kb of mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data from representatives of all major
phasmatodean lineages. Our data placed Dryococelus and the New Caledonian tree lobsters outside
the New Guinean Eurycanthinae as members of an unrelated Australasian stick insect clade, the
Lanceocercata. These results suggest a convergent origin of the ‘tree lobster’ body form. Our reanalysis of
tree lobster characters provides additional support for our hypothesis of convergent evolution. We
conclude that the phenotypic traits leading to the traditional classification are convergent adaptations to
ground-living behaviour. Our molecular dating analyses indicate an ancient divergence (more than 22 Myr
ago) between Dryococelus and its Australian relatives. Hence, Dryococelus represents a long-standing
separate evolutionary lineage within the stick insects and must be regarded as a key taxon to protect with
respect to phasmatodean diversity.
Keywords: convergent evolution; conservation genetics; Phasmatodea; Dryococelus; Eurycanthinae;
The rediscovery of an organism long thought extinct is a
very rare and fortunate event. The discovery of a small
population of ‘tree lobsters’ on a rocky offshore islet in
the South Pacific Ocean in 2001 was sensational news
for conservationists ( Priddel et al. 2003;Pain 2006;
Robertson 2006). The ‘tree lobsters’ or ‘land lobsters’
(Rentz 1996) are distinct ground-dwelling ecomorphs of
stick insects (insect order Phasmatodea) that are instantly
recognizable due to a unique combination of morpho-
logical and behavioural characters: tree lobsters are
flightless, with a dorsoventrally flattened body, a robust,
stocky habitus (body form) and square-edged thoracic
segments, often exhibiting an elongated secondary ovipo-
sitor in the female and enlarged, powerfully armed hind
legs in the male (figure 1a–f ;Gurney 1947;Hsiung 1987).
In contrast to the majority of stick insects, which are
solitary canopy-dwellers that drop or flick their eggs to the
ground, tree lobsters aggregate in large numbers in cavities
near the ground and deposit their eggs into the soil
(Lea 1916;Bedford 1976;Honan 2008; S. Bradler 2007,
personal observation).
The most famous ‘tree lobster’ is the Lord Howe
Island stick insect, Dryococelus australis (Montrouzier)
(figure 1a,b). This species is a large (up to 130 mm)
ground-dwelling stick insect that was formerly common
throughout Lord Howe Island. The introduction of rats
via a shipwreck in 1918 led to the extinction of the species
on Lord Howe Island by the 1960s at the latest (Priddel
et al. 2003). Long considered to be extinct ( Paramonov
1963;Key 1991;Rentz 1996), a population of the species
was rediscovered in 2001 on Balls Pyramid, a very small,
200 metre wide rock pyramid approximately 25 km from
Lord Howe Island (Priddel et al. 2003). The population
size appeared not to exceed two dozen individuals,
indicating that the species is indeed one of the rarest
insects in the world (Robertson 2006). Since its
rediscovery, a captive population has been established at
Melbourne Zoo and plans to reintroduce the species to
Lord Howe Island after eradication of the rats has been
prepared (Pain 2006;Honan 2008).
Traditionally, the tree lobsters pertain to the subfamily
Eurycanthinae, which has its greatest diversity in New
Guinea and associated islands(Gu
¨nther 1953);for example,
the well-known genera Eurycantha (figure 1e,f)and
Thaumatobactron. These taxa are considered to bethe closest
relatives of Dr yococelus (Gurney 1947;Hennemann & Conle
2006;Honan 2008), thus implying a dispersal of tree
lobsters from New Guinea to Lord Howe Island along the
former Lord Howe Rise. However, the Eurycanthinae is
also recorded from New Caledonia, where it is represented
by Canachus (figure 1c,d) among other less studied genera.
Proc. R. Soc. B (2009) 276, 1055–1062
Published online 16 December 2008
Electronic supplementary material is available at
1098/rspb.2008.1552 or via
*Author for correspondence (
Received 27 October 2008
Accepted 26 November 2008 1055 This journal is q2008 The Royal Society
The tree lobsters are also recorded from a few other
islands in the southwest Pacific and off the northern tip of
Australia. The subfamily Eurycanthinae also comprises
genera that are not considered tree lobsters, such as the
bush-dwelling and slender stick insects Asprenas from New
Caledonia and Neopromachus from New Guinea. Other
arboreal taxa such as Cnipsus from New Caledonia have
been placed in the Eurycanthinae by some (Gu
1953), but not all authors (Zompro 2001).
Because a considerable investment in the survival of
the species is being made, it is crucial to determine the
evolutionary heritage and phylogenetic distinctiveness of
Dryococelus (Vane-Wright et al.1991;Faith 1992;Mooers
2007). It is currently unknown how phylogenetically
distinct Dryococelus is with regard to the remaining tree
lobsters and what its biogeographic history is. For example,
because Lord Howe Island only emerged 6.4– 6.9 Myr ago
(McDougall et al. 1981), it is possible that Dryococelus is
only very recently derived from the New Guinean or New
Caledonian lineages of tree lobsters. Alternatively, it may
have a much more ancient evolutionary history, which
would enhance its conservation value.
To examine the phylogenetic position of Dryococelus
among stick insects, to reconstruct its biogeographic
history and to assess its conservation value, we obtained
nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data from
almost all major lineages of phasmatodean diversity. In
particular, we sampled all key eurycanthine genera in
addition to a broad selection of other stick insect taxa from
the Pacific and Australasian regions. We also applied a
Bayesian relaxed clock with fossil calibrations to infer the
evolutionary age of Dryococelus and provide the first
divergence time estimates across the Phasmatodea.
(a)Taxon sampling
Our sampling was designed to include all major lineages
of Phasmatodea and also to maximize the sampling of
genera in the Australasian region. We sampled 16 of the
18 traditional euphasmatodean subfamilies, following the
classification of Gu
¨nther (1953) for the reasons outlined by
Klug & Bradler (2006), with amendments from Zompro
(2001). Generic nomenclature follows Otte & Brock (2005)
and Brock & Hasenpusch (2007), except in the cases where
our phylogenetic analysis suggests newly proposed genera to
be non-monophyletic. We have sampled all four major genera
of New Guinean Eurycanthinae, in addition to Dr yococelus
and most genera of New Caledonian tree lobsters. The
phylogenetic tree was rooted using Timema, which has been
shown to be the sister group to the Euphasmatodea in
previous phylogenetic studies ( Whiting et al. 2003;Bradler in
press). Authorities for all taxonomic names are given in the
electronic supplementary material, table 1.
(b)DNA sequence data collection
DNA extractions were performed from muscle tissue using
Aqua pure genomic DNA tissue kit (Bio-Rad, USA)
following the manufacturer’s instructions. We used PCR to
obtain sequence data from two non-contiguous mito-
chondrial and two nuclear genes. The mitochondrial data
included 753 bp from the cytochrome oxidase subunit I
(COI) gene and 689 bp from the cytochrome oxidase subunit
II (COII) gene. The nuclear DNA sequence data included
350 bp from the Histone subunit 3 (H3) gene and 707 bp
from the large subunit rRNA (28S) gene. The COI and COII
genes were amplified using the primers C1-J-2195CTL2-N-
3014 and TL2-J-3034CTK-N-3785, respectively (Simon
et al. 1994). The 28S gene was amplified using the primers
28S-356C28S-1009 from Buckley et al. (2008) and the H3
gene was amplified using the primers H3F (ATGGCTCG
RATRGTGAC) from Colgan et al. (1998). PCR cycling
conditions were 948C for 1 min, followed by 35–40 cycles
of 948C for 1 min, 53–578C for 1 min and 728C for 1.5 min,
and 1 cycle for 728C for 10 min. DNA products were purified
for sequencing using MinElute 96 UF PCR purification
kit (Qiagen, USA). Purified PCR products were sequenced
using BIGDYE TERMINATOR v. 3.1 cycle sequencing kit
(Applied Biosystems, USA). Cycle sequencing products
were cleaned by 96 well plate ethanol precipitation
and analysed on ABI 3100 Avant Genetic Analyzer
(Applied Biosystems).
10 mm 10 mm 10 mm 10 mm
Figure 1. Photo composition of different ‘tree lobsters’ compared with a winged, canopy-dwelling stick insect. (a) Male and
(b) female of D. australis,(c) male and (d) female of Canachus alligator,(e) male and ( f) female of Eurycantha horrida, and
(g) male of Phasma gigas.
1056 T. R. Buckley et al. Convergent evolution in tree lobsters
Proc. R. Soc. B (2009)
(c)Alignment, phylogenetic analysis and
molecular dating
The COI and H3 genes were length-invariable and the COII
gene contained only a small region of length variation.
Alignment of this latter gene was achieved using CLUSTALX
(Larkin et al. 2007). The 28S gene was more variable and
contained a number of regions of length variation. The
CLUSTALX alignment was refined using the 28S rRNA
secondary structure information from the Chrysomelidae
(Coleoptera) model (Gillespie et al. 2004). Helices were
identified using this model and used to delimit the boundary
of regions for exclusion (typically unpaired regions).
We estimated phylogenetic relationships using BEAST
v. 1.4.8 (Drummond & Rambaut 2007) under an uncorre-
lated lognormal model (UCLD; Drummond et al. 2006). We
partitioned the data into codon positions for the mito-
chondrial DNA and assigned the H3 and 28S sites to a
different partition each to yield a five-partition model. For
each partition we used the AIC to select the best fit model as
implemented in PAUP
v. 4.0.b10 (Swofford 1998) and
MODELTEST v. 3.6 (Posada & Crandall 1998). We used a Yule
prior for tree shape and exponential priors for the substitution
model and relaxed clock parameters. Priors for the model
parameters were mZ100.0, GTR rate parametersZ100.0,
transition/transversion rate ratioZ100.0, partition rate multi-
pliersZ100, ashape parameterZ1.0, UCLD meanZ1.0,
UCLD standard deviationZ1.0, Yule birth rateZ1.0, mean
substitution rateZ1.0, coefficient of variationZ1.0 and
covarianceZ1.0. We iteratively optimized the Markov chain
Monte Carlo (MCMC) operators by performing short runs
cycles) and then adjusting the operators as
suggested by BEAST and gradually increasing the run length.
When the MCMC operators were set at optimal levels, as
indicated by the BEAST output, we ran five r uns at 40!10
cycles, sampling every 1000th step in the chain, and used
TRACER (Drummond & Rambaut 2007) to monitor conver-
gence, select the burn-in and calculate effective sample sizes.
All runs that were consistent with convergence were
concatenated and used to estimate the posterior distributions
of topology and divergence time.
Phasmatodea fossils are exceedingly rare and currently
only a few fossils can be unambiguously placed on an extant
lineage (Wedmann et al. 2007). We used the occurrence of
fossil euphasmatodean eggs in mid-Cretaceous Burmese
amber (Rasnitsyn & Ross 2000) to place a prior distribution
on the age of the root. These fossils have been dated to
between 95 and 110 Myr ago (Grimaldi & Engel 2005),
therefore we assumed that the divergence between Timema
and the Euphasmatodea occurred more than 95 Myr ago. We
also used the presence of a leaf insect fossil dated at 47 Myr
ago (Wedmann et al. 2007) to set the minimum age on the
divergence of the leaf insects from their closest relatives. For
the root and leaf insect calibration points, we used
exponential distributions with a mean of 1.0 and 5.0,
respectively, and offset these distributions by 95 and 47 Myr
ago, respectively. Although these fossil calibrations may
represent substantial underestimates of the age of the lineages
they are placed on, we have no information to constrain the
upper age of those lineages. Therefore, despite the tight prior
distribution assumed, the resulting dates are interpreted as
lower limits.
The monophyly of the Eurycanthinae was tested by
constructing a maximum-likelihood tree in PAUP
v. 4.0
and comparing the likelihood of this tree to that of a tree
where the Eurycanthinae were constrained to be mono-
phyletic. The significance of the likelihood ratio was tested
using the Shimodaira–Hasegawa (S–H) test (Shimodaira &
Hasegawa 1999) as implemented in PAUP
v. 4.0.b10. For
the bootstrap step of the S –H test, we used 10 000 replicates
of the RELL approximation.
(a)Phylogenetic relationships among the
tree lobsters
We obtained 2.4 kb of nuclear and mitochondrial
sequence data from 78 euphasmatodean individuals and
1 individual of the out-group Timema. All newly obtained
sequences have been submitted to GenBank under
accession numbers FJ474100–FJ474403. We observed
excellent support (1.0 Bayesian posterior probability) for
the monophyly of Diapheromerinae, Pseudophasmatinae
sensu stricto (excluding Agathemera and the Heteronemia
group, e.g. Spinonemia), Phylliinae, Aschiphasmatinae,
Necrosciinae, Lonchodinae, Cladomorphinae, Obrimini
and Lanceocercata in agreement with the previous
phylogenetic studies (figure 2;Whiting et al. 2003;Bradler
in press). In general, there are very few relationships
between traditional subfamilies that are well supported,
the exceptions being EurycanthomorphaCLonchodinae
(83% posterior probability), Bacillinae (Xylica)CAschi-
phasmatinae (98% posterior probability) and Palophinae
(Bactrododema)CCladomorphinae (73% posterior prob-
ability), the first also recovered in a previous molecular
phylogenetic study (Whiting et al. 2003). We find support
for neither the monophyly of Phasmatinae, nor its
subgroup Pharnaciini (the latter represented by Pharnacia
and the MacrophasmaCPhasmotaenia clade). The UCLD
model inferred the root of the tree to lie on the branch
between Timema and the Euphasmatodea with a posterior
probability of 1.0, as also supported by previous molecular
(Whiting et al. 2003)andmorphological(Bradler
in press) data.
The Lanceocercata contain a wide array of Australasian
phasmids conventionally thought to be unrelated to one
another, comprising species of Tropidoderinae, Xeroder-
inae, Platycraninae, Phasmatini, Acanthoxylini and
Pachymorphini (Bradler 2001,in press). Within the
Lanceocercata, Dimorphodes (subfamily Xeroderinae)
constitutes the sister group to all other members (100%
posterior probability), which include the remaining
Xeroderinae and the polyphyletic Tropidoderinae, and
Phasmatini as previously suggested ( Whiting et al. 2003).
Perhaps the most surprising result is that the subfamily
Eurycanthinae, containing the tree lobsters, are also
polyphyletic, forming five separate lineages. Members of
the virtual tree lobsters are found in three unrelated
regions of the tree (grey boxes in figure 2), two of them
(TrapezaspisCCanachusCMicrocanachus and Dryococelus)
nested within Lanceocercata. Using an S–H test, we were
able to reject monophyly of the Eurycanthinae with a
P-value of 0.00001. The members of the Eurycanthinae
outside the Lanceocercata clade comprise Eurycantha and
related genera from New Guinea, the Eurycanthomorpha
sensu Bradler (2002,in press). Within Lanceocercata, the
New Caledonian eurycanthines form a clade with various
other taxa from New Caledonia and New Zealand (100%
posterior probability), including the enigmatic Cnipsus,
Convergent evolution in tree lobsters T. R. Buckley et al. 1057
Proc. R. Soc. B (2009)
Megacrania phelaus
Extatosoma tiaratum bufonium
Achrioptera punctipes
Rhaphiderus scabrosus
Tropidoderus childrenii
Phyllium giganteum
Pachymorpha sp.
Abrosoma festinatum
Phasma gigas
Vetilia thoon
Cnipsus rachis
Pharnacia ponderosa
Anchiale sp.
Erinaceophasma vepres
Carlius fecundus
Xylica oedematosa
Clonaria conformans
Macrophasma biroi
Agamemnon cornutus
Heteropteryx dilatata
Eurycnema goliath
Pseudosermyle phalangiphora
Zehntneria mystica
Canachus sp.
Clitarchus hookeri
Thaumatobactron guentheri
Chondrostethus woodfordi
Pterobrimus depressus
Extatosoma tiaratum tiaratum
Canachus alligator
Peruphasma schultei
Xeroderus sp.
Ctenomorpha marginipennis
Acanthoxyla geisovii
Phyllium celebicum
Rhynchacris ornata
Dimorphodes sp.
Megacrania batesii
Spinonemia chilensis
Monandroptera acanthomera (2)
Asprenas impennis
Labidiophasma rouxi
Agathemera sp.
Dryococelus australis
Neopromachus doreyanus
Pseudophasma velutinum
Diapheromera femorata
Sipyloidea sipylus
Trapezaspis sp.
Sceptrophasma hispidulum
Eurycnema osiris
Monandroptera acanthomera (1)
Necrosciinae sp.
Dinophasma saginatum
Hyrtacus sp.
Chitoniscus brachysoma
Acrophylla wuelfingi
Malandania pulchra
Phyllium siccifolium
Bacteria ferula
Trachyaretaon brueckneri
Bactrododema sp.
Eurycantha calcarata
Microcanachus matileorum
Phasmotaenia sp.
Leosthenes sp.
Podacanthus wilkinsoni
Dimorphodes mancus
Anchiale briareus
Acrophylla titan
Ramulus thaii
Anisomorpha buprestoides
Pterinoxylus crassus
Chitoniscus feejeeanus
Carausius morosus
non-supported subfamilies:
sensu stricto
90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
millions of years ago
Oxyartes labellatus
Phaenopharos khaoyaiensis
New Caledonia+
New Zealand clade
98 100
100 100
100 100
83 100
83 98
89 90
78 57
71 99
74 96
Figure 2. Bayesian phylogenetic tree showing relationships among euphasmatodean taxa and placement of the ‘tree lobster’
ecomorphs. Branch lengths are drawn proportional to time and values above branches are Bayesian posterior probabilities. Non-
monophyletic subfamilies are indicated by coloured branches according to the inset key. The tree lobster taxa are highlighted
grey. Monophyletic taxa are indicated by vertical bars.
1058 T. R. Buckley et al. Convergent evolution in tree lobsters
Proc. R. Soc. B (2009)
which has been assigned to different subfamilies in the past
(Redtenbacher 1908;Gu
¨nther 1953;Zompro 2001). The
Lord Howe Island tree lobster Dryococelus appears to be
unrelated to the New Guinean and New Caledonian
Eurycanthinae, forming a rather isolated lineage, but
related to the widespread Australian genus Eurycnema
(76% posterior probability).
Using the two calibration points discussed above,
we obtained a lower limit on the age of the extant
Euphasmatodea radiation of 51.9 Myr ago (95% posterior
intervals 47.0–58.7). Most of the subfamilies diverged
over a period of ca 20 Myr ago, indicating that the
Euphasmatodea underwent a rapid radiation.
(b)Analysis of morphological characters
Our findings contradict the view that Dryococelus is
closely related to the New Guinean or New Caledonian
tree lobsters as has been suggested for almost 150 years
by all previous authors ( Westwood 1859;Redtenbacher
1908;Gurney 1947;Gu
¨nther 1953;Key 1991;Zompro
2001;Hennemann & Conle 2006;Brock & Hasenpusch
2007;Honan 2008). The results of our phylogenetic
analysis demand a reassessment of the morphological
evidence. One putative synapomorphic character of
Dryococelus and the New Guinean Eurycantha and
Thaumatobactron are the conspicuously enlarged and
strongly armed hind legs of the males. Both Dryococelus
and Eurycantha, for example, have a large defensive spine
on ventral surface of the hind femora (dsp in figure 3f,g).
However, closer inspection of this armature shows that it
appears to be non-homologous between these genera. In
Dryococelus, the prominent ventral spine is formed by the
ventroexternal carina (vec in figure 3 f), whereas in
Eurycantha and Thaumatobactron a similarly prominent
spine is produced by the midventral carina (mvc in
figure 3g;Gurney 1947) and in Canachus this spine
is absent.
In the neck region of all Eurycanthomorpha, e.g.
Thaumatobactron, the cervix is protected by a prominent
sclerite, the gula (shaded blue in figure 3a), whereas
Canachus exhibits no gular sclerotization whatsoever
(figure 3b), and Dryococelus specimens possess small
gular sclerites in the otherwise membranous cervical
region (figure 3c).
fe vec
dsp dsp
3mm 3mm
Figure 3. Morphological details of D. australis compared with key taxa of the remaining ‘tree lobster’ clades. Ventral view of the
male head region of (a)Thaumatobactron guentheri,(b)C. alligator and (c)D. australis. Male clasper (tergum 10) in posterior view
of (d)D. australis and (e)C. alligator. Ventral view of left hind leg of ( f) male D. australis and (g) male Eurycantha calcarata.
Ventral view of female genitalia (sternum 8 removed) of ( h)D. australis,(i)C. alligator and ( j)Eur ycantha insularis. cer, cercus;
cvx, cervix; dsp, defensive spine; epi, epiproct; fe, femur; glr, gularia; gon, gonangulum; gp8–9, gonapophysis 8–9; gpl,
gonoplac; gu, gula; lac, laterocervicalia; lp, labial palpus; mvc, midventral carina; mxp, maxillar palpus; par, paraproct; prb,
probasisternite; ros, rostrum; sbm, submentum; t9–10, tergum 9–10; tho, thorn pad; vec, ventroexternal carina. The arrows in
(a–c) indicate the position of the posterior tentorial pits. Gular sclerotization shaded blue, gonoplacs shaded red.
Convergent evolution in tree lobsters T. R. Buckley et al. 1059
Proc. R. Soc. B (2009)
In the female ovipositor of Dryococelus, all three pairs of
valves are well developed, with the gonoplac forming the
largest sheath (shaded red in figure 3h), which appears to
represent the primitive condition among neopteran insects
(Kristensen 1975) as well as in Phasmatodea ( Tilgner
et al. 1999). The ovipositor of Canachus exhibits only
remnants of the gonoplac (figure 3i) and in Eurycantha the
gonoplac is completely reduced (figure 3j). In females of
Eurycantha and Canachus, the abdominal tergum 10 is
elongated forming a rostrum as part of a secondary
ovipositor for depositing eggs in soil and other substrates
(figure 3i,j). A secondary ovipositor is absent in
Dryococelus, traditionally interpreted as the result of a
secondary reduction (Zompro 2001). Our reconstruction,
however, suggests that a secondary ovipositor was not
present in the ancestral lineage of Dryococelus, suggesting
its absence in Dryococelus to constitute the primary
condition. Thus, the female genitalia are quite different
among each of the three tree lobster lineages, and there
appear to be no obvious synapomorphies to link
Dryococelus and the New Guinean and New Caledonian
tree lobsters. This variation in female terminalia is
reflected in the differences in the genital armature of the
male claspers, where Dryococelus and Canachus resemble
typical Lanceocercata (tho in figure 3d,e;cf.Bradler
in press). Finally, the New Caledonian eurycanthines
(Canachus and the related Asprenas) have small wing
rudiments, whereas the Eurycanthomorpha and Dryoco-
celus are fully apterous.
In summary, Dryococelus lacks all of the apomorphic
characters that define the New Guinean Eurycantho-
morpha, including the presence of a gula, reduced
gonoplacs in the female ovipositor and the presence of
a secondary ovipositor for egg deposition (Bradler 2002,
in press). These relatively inconspicuous but significant
anatomical differences between the different tree lobster
lineages mirror their separate phylogenetic placement.
Nevertheless, the overall strong similarity in general body
form of the different tree lobsters led to their improper and
hitherto unquestioned classification.
(a)Diversification and convergent evolution in
stick insects
Similarities between species can arise in two fundamen-
tally different ways. Either each species has retained a
comparable trait from their common ancestor, or each has
acquired it independently (Hall 1994). Although the first
possibility might seem far more likely, convergence is in
fact a common phenomenon ( Morris 2003), often found
as a consequence of adaptive radiations in separate
evolutionary lineages (Givnish 1997). Our data strongly
suggest that the tree lobster body form evolved indepen-
dently on the three different landmasses of New Guinea,
New Caledonia and Lord Howe Island. Each lineage of
these ground-dwelling ecomorphs have probably des-
cended from arboreal ancestors as they are all either
nested within arboreal clades (Dryococelus and Canachus)
or sister-group to them ( New Guinean tree lobsters).
Their overall uniformity in body form and behaviour is
probably the product of similar selective pressure associ-
ated with adaptations to ground-dwelling life. Individuals
of Dryococelus and Eurycantha congregate in large
numbers and close spatial proximity in tree hollows and
cavities during the day ( Lea 1916;Gurney 1947;Bedford
1976). Females of all tree lobster genera deposit their eggs
into the soil (Hsiung 1987;Pain 2006;Honan 2008;
personal observations), with females of Canachus and
Eurycantha even using a similarly developed secondary
ovipositor (Bradler 2002;figure 3i,j). Individuals of all
three clades exhibit a robust habitus with dorsoventrally
flattened body and sturdy legs. The greatly enlarged and
armed hind legs of some males probably evolved as a
response to ground-hunting predators and might also be
used against other males ( Lea 1916;Gurney 1947;
Bedford 1976;Hsiung 1987;Honan 2008), although if
this is the case this defence mechanism did not save
Dryococelus from rats (the rats were apparently eating the
nymphs, not adults).
Among Phasmatodea the Lanceocercata exhibit
morphological and ecological parallelisms comparable
with those found between placental mammals and
marsupials (Springer et al. 1997) and between afrotherian
and laurasiatherian mammals (Madsen et al.2001).
Examples of extensive and multiple convergences have
also been demonstrated between lineages of African
cichlid fishes (Meyer et al. 1990;Brakefield 2006), lizards
on Caribbean islands (Losos et al. 1998) and between
several bird families (Fain & Houde 2004). Such
phenotypic similarity between unrelated species is
probably generated by extrinsic selective pressure, as
well as by intrinsic factors such as shared trajectories in the
underlying developmental architecture (Brakefield 2006),
which might provide constraints on the direction of stick
insect evolution. Our results indicate that the Australasian
Lanceocercata and the remaining Euphasmatodea under-
went parallel adaptive radiations that resulted, in addition
to the tree lobsters, in further astounding examples of
convergence. The Lanceocercata also comprise giant-
winged stick insects of the canopy, such as the Australian
Acrophylla, exceeding 26 cm in body length, which is
paralleled by the equally large, morphologically and
ecologically similar African Bactrododema ( Palophinae).
The leaf-imitating forms include Malandania and Tropi-
doderus in Lanceocercata and true leaf insects in the
Phylliinae. Gracile flyers are also found within Lanceo-
cercata (e.g. Carlius), which are strikingly similar to the
forms from the Necrosciinae (e.g. Sipyloidea). In addition,
the small wingless Australian Lanceocercata with exceed-
ingly short antennae (e.g. Pachymorpha)arehighly
reminiscent of the Afro-Oriental Gratidiini (e.g. Sceptro-
phasma,Clonaria,Gratidia). Examples among diminutive
spiny trunk-dwellers include Cnipsus in Lanceocercata and
Neopromachus in Eurycanthomorpha.
Our data show that the Lanceocercata radiated not only
in Australia and New Guinea but also from as far west as
the Mascarene Archipelago in the Indian Ocean and as far
east as New Zealand and New Caledonia. Given the low
dispersal abilities of phasmatodeans overseas ( Nakata
1961), tectonic movements might have been of major
importance in shaping their historical distribution.
Because we have no information from which to derive
the upper limits on any of the divergences times within the
Phasmatodea, all our reported dates must be interpreted
as minimum estimates, and future discoveries of fossil
phasmatodeans pertaining to extant crown groups could
result in significantly older age estimates of their most
1060 T. R. Buckley et al. Convergent evolution in tree lobsters
Proc. R. Soc. B (2009)
recent common ancestor. Our divergence time estimates
using a Bayesian relaxed clock (Drummond et al. 2006)
suggest that the Lanceocercata began to diversify at least
32 Myr ago (29.4–37.5 Myr ago), in the Oligocene. The
radiation of the subfamilies and other major clades
occurred over a period of 20 million years (and much
less if the Diapheromerinae and Phylliinae are excluded)
and may represent a classic case of rapid ancient radiation.
Our divergence time estimates suggest that Dryococelus
shared a most recent common ancestor with its closest
Australian relative, the genus Eurycnema, at least 22 Myr
ago (15.9–26.2 Myr ago), which contrasts with the
emergence of Lord Howe Island 6.4–6.9 Myr ago as the
result of volcanic activity along the Lord Howe Rise
(McDougall et al. 1981). Unless future sampling of other
Lanceocercata taxa reveals more closely related extant
relatives then Dryococelus must have existed elsewhere
prior to the formation of Lord Howe Island, possibly to
the north on the now-submerged seamounts known as the
Lord Howe seamount chain, or to the northwest along
the submerged Tasmantid Guyots ( McDougall et al.
1981). Interestingly, the oldest of the submerged islands
in the Lord Howe seamount chain, Nova Bank, is roughly
estimated to be 23 Myr old (McDougall et al. 1981),
which accords well with our minimum divergence estimate
of Dryococelus from its mainland Australian relatives. The
Lord Howe Island tree lobster may have evolved on now-
drowned islands far to the north of Lord Howe and
progressively dispersed down the island chain, leaving its
ancestral populations to become extinct as their islands
eroded away.
(b)Conservation genetics of D. australis
Numerous authors have suggested that the conservation
of phylogenetic diversity is preferable over the protection
of pure species richness, taking into account that
different species can vary drastically in their evolutionary
isolation and heritage ( Va n e - W r i g h t et al. 1991;
Faith 1992;Mooers 2007). The isolated phylogenetic
position and great age of Dryococelus among the Lanceo-
cercata highlights the importance of its conservation
with respect to phasmatodean diversity. Considerable
effort has already been undertaken to conserve the small
remaining population of Dryococelus (Honan 2008). The
results of this study indicate that this investment is
decidedly warranted.
Specimens and assistance with fieldwork were provided by
H. Blafard, M. Brinkert, P. Brock, S. Brown, J.-J. Cassan,
S. Cazeres, D. Clark, J. Colville, P. Cranston, N. Evenhuis,
K. Hill, R. Hoare, M. Humphrey, T. Jewell, B. Kneubu
R. Leschen, D. Marshall, J. Midgley, C. Mille
´, P. Miller,
G. Monteith, M. Moulds, D. Otte, D. Paulaud, K. Rabaey,
R. Simoens, K. Vandervennet and K. Will. Thanks
to T. Reischig and P. Schwendinger for taking the photos.
U. Aspo¨ ck, S. Randolf and P. Schwendinger loaned speci-
mens. Permits for New Caledonia were issued by D. Paulaud
and J.-J. Cassan with assistance from C. Mille
´. R. Leschen,
A. Stumpner and two anonymous reviewers provided
comments on the manuscript. Funding was provided by
the National Geographic Society (7906-05), the Royal
Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund ( LCR302), the
Foundation for Research, Science and Technology through
the Defining New Zealand’s Land Bioti OBI and an Ernst
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... Currently, approximately 3400 species of Phasmatodea have been described worldwide, in 14 families and more than 500 genera, a moderately diverse insect group [2]. Since stick and leaf insects disguise themselves by mimicking plants, convergent evolution of related morphological characteristics and sexual dimorphism limits morphology-based classifications [3]. ...
... Within Phasmatodea, Timematidea has been repeatedly confirmed to be a sister group of the Euphasmatodea (all remaining Phasmatodea) [5,[36][37][38][39]. The monophyly of Heteropterygidae has been demonstrated [40][41][42]; however, some studies that included a few samples of Heteropterygidae did not recover monophyly [3,34,43]. Phylogenetic relationships between the three subfamilies of Heteropterygidae remain unresolved, although three distinct phylogenetic relationships among subgroups have been supported. According to morphological data, Hennemann et al. [44] supported Dataminae as the sister group to the clade of (Obriminae + Heteropteryginae), which had also been supported by some molecular analyses [6,41]. ...
... Due to the heterogeneity of egg-capsule morphology and oviposition strategy, Sellick [57] considered the Necrosciinae to be polyphyletic. The monophyly of Necrosciinae was also supported by other studies [3,5,6]. Because misclassification often occurs in both subfamilies, addressing their monophyly requires a combination of morphology and molecular data. ...
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Simple Summary Stick and leaf insects are herbivorous species widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas, disguising themselves as leaves, twigs, or moss through morphology and behavior to avoid visually hunting predators. Currently, Phasmatodea present difficulties in taxonomy, and their phylogeny is unresolved. Mitochondria, as maternally inherited organelles, also contain evolutionary information. Compared to nuclear genes, mitogenomes have become a powerful marker for inferring phylogenetic relationships due to advantages including fast evolution rates, conserved structure, and easy amplification. With rapid advances in sequencing technology and assembly algorithms, mitogenomes can be sequenced in a very cost-effective way. As of March 2023, there are thirty-seven complete or nearly complete Phasmatodea mitogenomes listed in the NCBI. Considering the richness of Phasmatodea, additional study is warranted. In the present study, nine new mitogenomes were sequenced to examine gene rearrangements and phylogenetic relationships within the Phasmatodea. Abstract The classification of stick and leaf insects (Order Phasmatodea) is flawed at various taxonomic ranks due to a lack of robust phylogenetic relationships and convergent morphological characteristics. In this study, we sequenced nine new mitogenomes that ranged from 15,011 bp to 17,761 bp in length. In the mitogenome of Carausis sp., we found a translocation of trnR and trnA, which can be explained by the tandem duplication/random loss (TDRL) model. In the Stheneboea repudiosa Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1907, a novel mitochondrial structure of 12S rRNA-CR1-trnI-CR2-trnQ-trnM was found for the first time in Phasmatodea. Due to the low homology of CR1 and CR2, we hypothesized that trnI was inverted through recombination and then translocated into the middle of the control region. Control region repeats were frequently detected in the newly sequenced mitogenomes. To explore phylogenetic relationships in Phasmatodea, mtPCGs from 56 Phasmatodean species (composed of 9 stick insects from this study, 31 GenBank data, and 16 data derived from transcriptome splicing) were used for Bayesian inference (BI), and maximum likelihood (ML) analyses. Both analyses supported the monophyly of Lonchodinae and Necrosciinae, but Lonchodidae was polyphyletic. Phasmatidae was monophyletic, and Clitumninae was paraphyletic. Phyllidae was located at the base of Neophasmatodea and formed a sister group with the remaining Neophasmatodea. Bacillidae and Pseudophasmatidae were recovered as a sister group. Heteroptergidae was monophyletic, and the Heteropteryginae sister to the clade (Obriminae + Dataminae) was supported by BI analysis and ML analysis.
... Its tegminal colouration visually mimics characteristics of the gymnosperm Membranifolia admirabilis Sun & Zheng, 2001, comprising a common component of the Cretaceous flora of the same formation (Wang et al., 2014). Subsequently phasmids and plants probably co-radiated, when stick insects began to imitate their floral surroundings to avoid predators (Wedmann et al., 2007;Buckley et al., 2009). During the emergence of angiosperms, and their major radiation (Bell et al., 2010;Magallón & Castillo, 2009), stick insects evolved at a similar pace (Buckley et al., 2009(Buckley et al., , 2010Bradler et al., 2015;Goldberg et al., 2015;Simon et al., 2019), possibly in response to the burgeoning diversity of plants and their corresponding adaptations (Robertson Büscher et al., 2020b, c). ...
... Subsequently phasmids and plants probably co-radiated, when stick insects began to imitate their floral surroundings to avoid predators (Wedmann et al., 2007;Buckley et al., 2009). During the emergence of angiosperms, and their major radiation (Bell et al., 2010;Magallón & Castillo, 2009), stick insects evolved at a similar pace (Buckley et al., 2009(Buckley et al., , 2010Bradler et al., 2015;Goldberg et al., 2015;Simon et al., 2019), possibly in response to the burgeoning diversity of plants and their corresponding adaptations (Robertson Büscher et al., 2020b, c). This not only resulted in a strong host-specific mimicry response for many recent phasmids, but also led to several counteradaptations against herbivory on the plant side (e.g. ...
Functional systems that evolve as a response to specific environmental challenges often exhibit convergent traits. Organs adapted for attachment to a surface are tuned to a general requirement independent of the phylogenetic position of the organism. The different strategies employed for solving similar problems often represent the same physical principles, and that is why the morphology of attachment structures (and also many other functional systems) is channelled by physical rules. Different animals, therefore, employ similar mechanisms to attach to the broad variety of substrates with different surface conditions. There are two main types of attachment devices that occur on animal legs: hairy and smooth. They differ greatly in their morphology and ultrastructure, but both solve the same problem of proper mechanical adaptation to the variety of natural roughnesses by maximising real contact area with them. Adaptation to specific surface conditions within these groups resulted in several different solutions to the specific ecological surroundings the lineages radiated into. As the conditions are similar in the discrete environments, the adaptations of the attachment systems of different animal groups reveal similar mechanisms. For this reason, on the one hand, similar attachment organs evolved in different lineages of animals, and, on the other hand, different attachment organ modifications occur within the same lineages. In this chapter we summarise the data published in the literature on the structural and functional principles of hairy and smooth attachment pads with a special focus on insects. We describe ultrastructure, surface patterns, the origin of different pads and their evolution, discuss the results of mechanical testing of material properties (elasticity, viscoelasticity, adhesion, friction) and basic physical forces contributing to adhesion, show the influence of different factors, such as substrate roughness and pad stiffness, on contact forces, and review the chemical composition of pad fluids, which are an important component of adhesive function. The structure of this chapter is a kind of fractal. It starts with the omnipresence of the pads in animals. Then we zoom into the phylogeny focusing on insects as the largest animal group on earth, showing convergent evolution of attachment pads therein. In the subsequent step we further zoom in on the phylogeny of one insect group, Phasmatodea, and explore convergent evolution of attachment pads at an even finer scale. Such a hierarchical structure of the chapter helps us to show that convergent evolution occurs at different levels within the animal tree of life. Since convergent events might be potentially interesting for engineers in revealing a kind of optimal solution by nature. Finally, the biomimetic implications of the discussed results are briefly presented.
... Megadiverse groups of organisms tend to have taxa with unknown phylogenetic placement, often because they are highly autapomorphic, have a striking appearance, or, conversely, lack any shared derived morphological characters with other lineages. Molecular data is finally helping us to sort out the phylogenetic positions of such taxa (e.g., Buckley et al., 2009;Kanda et al., 2016;Sihvonen et al., 2021;Tihelka et al., 2020;Twort et al., 2021), leading to a better understanding of the evolutionary history of these lineages. ...
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Here, we present multi-locus sequencing results from the enigmatic Afrotropical monotypic genus Egybolis Boisduval (occurring in East-and South Africa-previously placed in the subfamily Catocalinae, Noctuidae). Model-based phylogenetic analysis places Egybolis within a strongly supported clade comprising four Old World Tropical genera Cocytia Boisduval, Avatha Walker, Anereuthina Hübner, and Serrodes Guenée from the family Erebidae, subfamily Erebinae. Hence, we propose to formally assign the monotypic genus Egybolis to the subfamily Erebinae and the tribe Cocytiini. Timing of divergence analysis reveals the late Oligocene origin around 25 million years ago (Ma) for the tribe Cocytiini, and an early Miocene (~21 Ma) for the split between Cocytia and Egybolis.
... 1c). This places D. australis within the Australian Lanceocercata, corroborating previous findings based on mitochondrial genomes (Forni et al. 2021) and Sanger sequencing data sets (Buckley et al. 2009(Buckley et al. , 2010) that placed D. australis into a clade with Eurycnema spp. The latter studies inferred an Australian ancestral range and estimated the age of the D. australis lineage as much older than LHI, suggesting dispersal from Australia across now submerged islands. ...
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We present a chromosome scale genome assembly for Dryococelus australis, a critically endangered Australian phasmid. The assembly, constructed with Pacific Biosciences continuous long reads and chromatin conformation capture (Omni-C) data, is 3.42 Gbp in length with a scaffold N50 of 262.27 Mbp and L50 of 5. Over 99% of the assembly is contained in 17 major scaffolds which corresponds to the species' karyotype. The assembly contains 96.3% of insect BUSCO genes in single copy. A custom repeat library identified 63.29% of the genome covered by repetitive elements; most were not identifiable based on similarity to sequences in existing databases. A total of 33,793 putative protein coding genes were annotated. Despite the high contiguity and single copy BUSCO content of the assembly, over 1 Gbp of the flow cytometry estimated genome size is not represented, likely due to the large and repetitive nature of the genome. We identified the X chromosome with a coverage based analysis and searched for homologs of genes known to be X linked across the genus Timema. We found 59% of these genes on the putative X chromosome, indicating strong conservation of X chromosomal content across 120 million years of phasmid evolution.
... The evolution of structure and functionality of eggs in leaf insects reveals a decent degree of convergence, a phenomenon described for numerous other phasmid traits before (ecomorphs [3,40,90]; oviposition techniques [19,20,91]; wings [92][93][94]; tarsal adhesive structures [26,75,95,96]). One of the most important drivers for phylliid egg evolution appears to be the components for adhesion, namely, the presence of pinnae and glue (Fig. 11). ...
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Phylliidae are herbivorous insects exhibiting impressive cryptic masquerade and are colloquially called “walking leaves”. They imitate angiosperm leaves and their eggs often resemble plant seeds structurally and in some cases functionally. Despite overall morphological similarity of adult Phylliidae, their eggs reveal a significant diversity in overall shape and exochorionic surface features. Previous studies have shown that the eggs of most Phylliidae possess a specialised attachment mechanism with hierarchical exochorionic fan-like structures (pinnae), which are mantled by a film of an adhesive secretion (glue). The folded pinnae and glue respond to water contact, with the fibrous pinnae expanding and the glue being capable of reversible liquefaction. In general, the eggs of phylliids appear to exhibit varying structures that were suggested to represent specific adaptations to the different environments the eggs are deposited in. Here, we investigated the diversity of phylliid eggs and the functional morphology of their exochorionic structure. Based on the examination of all phylliid taxa for which the eggs are known, we were able to characterise eleven different morphological types. We explored the adhesiveness of these different egg morphotypes and experimentally compared the attachment performance on a broad range of substrates with different surface roughness, surface chemistry and tested whether the adhesion is replicable after detachment in multiple cycles. Furthermore, we used molecular phylogenetic methods to reconstruct the evolutionary history of different egg types and their adhesive systems within this lineage, based on 53 phylliid taxa. Our results suggest that the egg morphology is congruent with the phylogenetic relationships within Phylliidae. The morphological differences are likely caused by adaptations to the specific environmental requirements for the particular clades, as the egg morphology has an influence on the performance regarding the surface roughness. Furthermore, we show that different pinnae and the adhesive glue evolved convergently in different species. While the evolution of the Phylliidae in general appears to be non-adaptive judging on the strong similarity of the adults and nymphs of most species, the eggs represent a stage with complex and rather diverse functional adaptations including mechanisms for both fixation and dispersal of the eggs.
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Independent evolution of similar traits in lineages inhabiting similar environments (convergent evolution) is often taken as evidence for adaptation by natural selection, and used to illustrate the predictability of evolution. Yet convergence is rarely perfect. Environments may not be as similar as they appear (e.g., habitats scored the same may be heterogenous to the organisms). And lineages can evolve in different ways even when submitted to the same environmental challenges, because responses to selection are contingent upon available genetic variation and independent lineages may differ in the alleles, genetic backgrounds, and even the developmental mechanisms responsible for the phenotypes in question. Both impediments to convergence are predicted to increase as the length of time separating two lineages increases, making it difficult to discern their relative importance. We quantified environmental similarity and the extent of convergence to show how habitat and divergence time each contribute to observed patterns of morphological evolution in stick and leaf insects (order Phasmatodea). Dozens of phasmid lineages independently colonized similar habitats, repeatedly evolving in parallel directions on a 26-trait morphospace, though the magnitude and direction of these shifts varied. Lineages converging towards more similar environments ended up closer on the morphospace, as did closely related lineages, and closely related lineages followed more parallel trajectories to arrive there. Remarkably, after accounting for habitat similarity, we show that divergence time reduced convergence at a constant rate across more than 60 million years of separation, suggesting even the magnitude of contingency can be predictable, given sufficient spans of time. Significance statement Phasmids (stick and leaf insects) exemplify the extraordinary power of natural selection to shape organismal phenotypes. The animals themselves are charismatic champions of crypsis and masquerade; and our characterization of their adaptive radiation reveals dozens of instances of convergence, as lineages adapted to similar changes in habitat by repeatedly evolving similar body forms. Our findings show that the similarity of environmental conditions experienced by the organisms – the closeness of the invaded niches – and the extent of elapsed time since divergence, both predict the strength of morphological convergence. The phasmid radiation reveals an evolutionary process that is surprisingly predictable, even when lineages have been evolving independently for tens of millions of years.
Islands in the tropical Pacific Ocean are renowned for high biodiversity and endemism despite having relatively small landmasses. However, our knowledge of how this biodiversity is formed remains limited. The taxon cycle, where well‐dispersed, earlier colonizers become displaced from coastal to inland habitats by new waves of colonizers, producing isolated, range‐restricted species, has been proposed to explain current biodiversity patterns. Here, we integrate the outcomes of phylogenetic studies in the region to investigate the sources, age, number of colonizations, and diversification of 16 archipelagos in the tropical and subtropical South Pacific. We then evaluate whether the results support the taxon cycle as a plausible mechanism for these observations. We find that most species in the Pacific arrived less than 5 Mya from geographically close sources, suggesting that colonization by new taxa is a frequent and ongoing process. Therefore, our findings are broadly consistent with the theory of the Taxon Cycle, which posits that ongoing colonization results in the gradual displacement of established lineages. Only the oldest archipelagos, New Caledonia and Fiji, do not conform to this trend, having proportionally less recent colonization events, suggesting that the taxon cycle may slow on older islands. This conclusion is further validated by New Caledonia having lower diversification rate estimates than younger islands. We found that diversification rates across archipelagos are negatively correlated with area and age. Therefore, a taxon cycle that slows with island age appears to be a suitable concept for understanding the dynamic nature and biodiversity patterns of the Pacific Islands.
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Accurate taxonomical identification is an extremely important basis for stick insect research, including evolutionary biology but also applied biology such as pest control. In addition, genetic methods are a valuable identification auxiliary technology at present. Therefore, this paper used morphological and molecular data to investigate five stick insect specimens from the genus Cnipsomorpha in Yunnan, successfully identifying two new species: Cnipsomorpha yunnanensis Xu, Jiang & Yang, sp. nov. and C. yuxiensis Xu, Jiang & Yang, sp. nov. A phylogenetic tree was constructed through their 28S and COI genes in order to infer the phylogenetic position of the two new species. Photographs of the new species and a key to all known Cnipsomorpha species are provided.
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Living animals and legged robots share similar challenges for movement control. In particular, the investigation of neural control mechanisms for the self‐organized locomotion of insects and hexapod robots can be informative for other fields. The Annam stick insect Medauroidea extradentata is used as a template to develop a biorobotic model to infer walking self‐organization with strongly heterogeneous leg lengths. Body dimensions and data on the walking dynamics of the actual stick insect are used for the development of a neural control mechanism, generating self‐organized gait patterns that correspond to the real insect observations. The combination of both investigations not only proposes solutions for distributed neural locomotion control but also enables insights into the neural equipment of the biological template. Decentralized neural central pattern generation is utilized with phase modulation based on foot contact feedback to generate adaptive periodic base patterns and a radial basis function premotor network in each leg based on the target trajectories of actual stick insect legs during walking for complex intralimb coordination and self‐organized interlimb coordination control. Furthermore, based on both study objects, a robot with heterogeneous leg lengths is constructed to preliminary validate the findings from the simulations and real insect observations.
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The new genus Papuacocelus n. gen. (Type-species: Papuacocelus papuanus n. sp.) is described from Papua New Guinea (Morobe Province) and is related to Dryococelus Gurney, 1947, Thaumatobactron Günther, 1929 and Eurycantha Boisduval, 1835. The type-species Papuacocelus papuanus n. sp. is described and illustrated from both sexes. The male holotype is deposited in BMNH, the female paratype in the first author’s collection (FH). The monotypic genus Dryococelus Gurney, 1947 (Type-species: Karabidion australe Montrouzier, 1855) is briefly discussed and the eggs are described and illustrated for the first time. Keys and a table are presented to distinguish Dryococelus Gurney, 1947, Papuacocelus n. gen., Thaumatobactron Günther, 1929 and Eurycantha Boisduval, 1835. The beak-like ovipositor possessed by most females of Eurycanthinae is found to be formed by elongation of the anal segment and subgenital plate, and not as stated by former authors, by the subgenital plate and an elongated supraanal plate. A brief survey is provided of the beak-like ovipositors in Phasmatodea.
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A synonymic catalog of species, essential for researchers. 414 pages, spiral bound [replaces a CD issued in 2003 (First Edition)] OUT OF PRINT
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The Australian phasmid fauna has been revised prior to publication of a field guide by the same authors. Six new genera are described: Austrosipyloidea Brock & Hasenpusch, Cornicandovia Hasenpusch & Brock, Davidrentzia Brock & Hasenpusch, Micropodacanthus Brock & Hasenpusch, Paratropidoderus Brock & Hasenpusch and Spinosipyloidea Hasenpusch & Brock. Sixteen new species from various parts of Australia are described and figured: Candovia robinsoni Brock & Hasenpusch, Rhamphosipyloidea palumensis Hasenpusch & Brock, Scionecra milledgei Hasenpusch & Brock, Sipyloidea brevicerci Hasenpusch & Brock, Sipyloidea garradungensis Hasenpusch & Brock, Sipyloidea larryi Hasenpusch & Brock, Sipyloidea lewisensis Hasenpusch & Brock, Sipyloidea rentzi Brock & Hasenpusch, Sipyloidea whitei Brock & Hasenpusch, Spinosipyloidea doddi Hasenpusch & Brock [all Necrosciinae], Pachymorpha spinosa Brock & Hasenpusch [Pachymorphinae], Davidrentzia valida Brock & Hasenpusch [Platycraninae], Micropodacanthus mouldsi Brock & Hasenpusch, Micropodacanthus sztrakai Brock & Hasenpusch, Paratropidoderus spinosus Brock & Hasenpusch and Podacanthus keyi Brock & Hasenpusch [Tropidoderinae]. A number of new combinations are proposed, new synonyms and incorrect synonymy corrected following detailed examination of type and other material: 1. (Lonchodinae): Austrocarausius Brock, 2000: Carausius macerrimus Brunner, 1907 is a new synonym of Austrocarausius nigropunctatus (Kirby, 1896). Denhama Werner, 1912: D. austrocarinata (Otte & Brock, 2005), D. longiceps (Brunner, 1907), D. striata (Sjöstedt, 1918) and D. eutrachelia (Westwood, 1859) are transferred from Hyrtacus Stål, 1875, the latter species also removed from synonymy with Hyrtacus coenosa (Gray, 1833). D. gracilis (Sjöstedt, 1918), a former Marcenia species, is also transferred. Hyrtacus Stål, 1875 (= Marcenia Sjöstedt, 1918 syn. n.): H. caurus (Tepper, 1905) comb. n. transferred from Lonchodes Gray, 1835 (three new synonyms also reported for this species: Bacillus peristhenellus Tepper, 1905, Hyrtacus cunctatrix (Sjöstedt, 1918) and Hyrtacus nigrogranulosus Sjöstedt, 1918). Marcenia frenchi (Wood-Mason, 1877) is a new synonym of Hyrtacus tuberculatus Stål, 1875. 2. (Necrosciinae): Austrosipyloidea Brock & Hasenpusch, gen. n.: A. carterus (Westwood, 1859) comb. n., transferred from Sipyloidea Brunner, 1893 (= Sipyloidea filiformis Redtenbacher, 1908 syn. n.). Candovia Stål, 1875 is removed from synonymy with Hyrtacus, along with the type species, C. coenosa. This has resulted in all former Australian species placed in Parasipyloidea Redtenbacher, 1908 being transferred to Candovia i.e. C. aberrata (Brunner, 1907) comb. n., C. annulata (Brunner, 1907) comb. n., C. granulosa (Brunner, 1907) comb. n., C. pallida (Sjöstedt, 1918), comb. n., C. spurcata (Brunner, 1907) comb. n. and C. strumosa (Redtenbacher, 1908) comb. n. In addition, C. evoneobertii (Zompro & Adis, 2001) comb. n. and C. peridromes (Westwood, 1859) comb. n. (including its new synonyms Clitarchus longipes Brunner, 1907, Bacunculus tener Brunner, 1907 and E. cercatus (Redtenbacher, 1908)) are transferred from Echetlus Stål, 1875. Cornicandovia Hasenpusch & Brock gen n.: C. australica (Redtenbacher, 1908) comb. n. Sipyloidea Brunner, 1893: S. bella (Tepper, 1905) comb. n. (new synonym S. ovabdita Rentz & John, 1987) is transferred from Necroscia Serville, 1838, S. caeca Sjöstedt, 1918 rev. stat., is removed from synonymy with Sipyloidea carterus (Westwood, 1859). Rhamphosipyloidea Redtenbacher, 1908: R. queenslandica (Sjöstedt, 1918) comb. n. is transferred from Sipyloidea, also removed from synonymy with carterus. 3. (Pachymorphinae): Pachymorpha Gray, 1835: P. pasithoe (Westwood, 1859) is a new synonym of P. simplicipes Serville, 1838. 4. (Eurycanthinae). Eurycantha Boisduval, 1835: E. sifia (Westwood, 1859) is a new synonym of E. calcarata Lucas, 1870. 5. (Phasmatinae): Vetilia Stål, 1875 is a new synonym of Acrophylla Gray, 1835, resulting in the transfer of these species to Acrophylla: A. enceladus (Gray, 1835) comb. n. and A. thoon (Stål, 1875) comb. n. Vetilia ligia Redtenbacher, 1908 is a new synonym of Acrophylla wuelfingi Redtenbacher, 1908. A. paula (Tepper, 1905) and A. aliena Redtenbacher, 1908 are new synonyms of A. nubilosa Tepper, 1905. A. caprella (Westwood, 1859) comb. n. is transferred from Ctenomorpha Gray, 1833. Anchiale Stål, 1875 (= Ctenomorphodes Karny, 1923 syn. n.), resulting in the transfer of A. briareus (Gray, 1834) comb. n. and A. tessulata (Gray, 1835) which is renamed Anchiale austrotessulata name nov., as tessulata Gray is preoccupied by Anchiale tessulata (Goeze, 1778). Austroclonistria Redtenbacher, 1908 is a new synonym of Arphax Stål, 1875, as A. serrulataa Redtenbacher, 1908) is a new synonym of Arphax dolomedes (Westwood, 1859). Ctenomorpha Gray, 1833: Paractenomorpha macrotegmus (Tepper, 1887) is confirmed as a synonym of Ctenomorpha marginipennis Gray, 1833. Hermarchus Stål, 1875: H. polynesicus Redtenbacher, 1908 is a new synonym of H. insignis (Kaup, 1871). Paronchestus Redtenbacher, 1908: P. cornutus (Tepper, 1905) comb. n. is transferred from Acrophylla Gray, 1835 and P. pasimachus (Westwood, 1859) from Onchestus Stål, 1875. 6. (Platycraninae): Megacrania batesii (Kirby, 1896) is removed from synonymy with Megacrania alpheus (Westwood, 1859). 7. (Tropidoderinae): Didymuria Kirby 1904: D. virginea Stål, 1875 is removed from synonymy with D. violescens (Leach, 1814). Lysicles Stål, 1877: L. periphanes (Westwood, 1859) comb. n. is transferred from Echetlus Stål, 1875. Tropidoderus Gray 1835: T. michaelseni Werner, 1912 is removed from synonymy with T. childrenii (Gray, 1833). 8. (Xeroderinae): Cooktownia Sjöstedt, 1918 becomes a new synonym of Xeroderus Gray, 1835, as Cooktownia plana Sjöstedt, 1918 is a new synonym of Xeroderus kirbii Gray, 1835. Lectotypes are designated for Clitarchus longipes Brunner, 1907, Sipyloidea filiformis Redtenbacher, 1908 and Vetilia ligula Redtenbacher, 1908. As a result of this work, there are now 104 Australian species (+ 1 subspecies) and in order to facilitate further research on these insects, an updated checklist is provided, also a detailed bibliography.