AFLP analysis of phylogenetic relationships among myrmecophytic species of Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae) and their allies


The palaeotropic pioneer tree genus Macaranga Thouars (Euphorbiaceae) is characterized by various types of mutualistic interactions with specific ant partners (mainly Crematogaster spp.). About 30 species are obligate ant-plants (myrmecophytes). We used amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers to assess phylogenetic relationships among 108 Macaranga specimens from 43 species, including all available taxa from the three sections known to contain myrmecophytes. Eight primer combinations produced 426 bands that were scored as presence/absence characters. Banding patterns were analyzed phenetically, cladistically and by principal coordinates analysis. Monophyly of section Pruinosae is clearly supported. There is also good evidence for a monophyletic section Pachystemon that includes the puncticulata group. The monophyly of section Winklerianae and relationships between the three sections remain ambiguous. Section Pachystemon is subdivided into four well-supported monophyletic subclades that presumably correspond to taxonomic entities.

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Correspondence to K. Weising.

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We acknowledge the support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG Fi606/4-1, DFG We1830/2-1, 4-1 and 4-2), which in part was granted in the frame of the DFG-SPP 1127 “Radiations: origins of biological diversity”. Part of the plant material was kindly supplied by Dr. H. Feldhaar (University of Würzburg), Dr. U. Moog (University of Kassel) and Dr. F. Slik (Leiden University Branch, Nationaal Herbarium Nederland). We thank the University of Malaysia (Dr. Rosli b. Hashim) and Taman Taman Sabah (Datuk Lamri Ali; Dr. J. Nais) for permits and logistic support, and EPU for permission to conduct research in Malaysia.

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Bänfer, G., Fiala, B. & Weising, K. AFLP analysis of phylogenetic relationships among myrmecophytic species of Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae) and their allies. Plant Syst. Evol. 249, 213–231 (2004).

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Key words

  • Macaranga
  • Euphorbiaceae
  • AFLP
  • molecular phylogeny
  • evolution of myrmecophytes
  • ant-plants