From Eastern Arc Mountains to extreme sexual dimorphism: systematics of the enigmatic assassin bug genus Xenocaucus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Tribelocephalinae)
The Eastern Arc Mountains (EAM) have long been recognized as an area of extraordinary endemic biodiversity but have remained understudied compared to other biodiversity hotspots. The tribelocephaline assassin bug genus Xenocaucus China & Usinger, 1949, currently comprises two species known from the Uluguru Mountains of the EAM and Bioko Island in the Gulf of Guinea. Both species are based on single apterous and apparently eyeless female specimens. Based on collections resulting from extensive leaf litter sampling in Tanzania and Ethiopia, we here describe six new species, five based on females (Xenocaucus chomensis, n. sp., Xenocaucus kimbozensis, n. sp., Xenocaucus nguru, n. sp., Xenocaucus rubeho, n. sp., and Xenocaucus uluguru, n. sp.) and Xenocaucus ethiopiensis, n. sp., for which we discovered a macropterous male with well-developed eyes in addition to the apterous females. Molecular phylogenetic analyses indicate that Xenocaucus ethiopiensis, n. sp., is the sister taxon to the Tanzanian clade and support morphology-based species concepts. Divergence dating shows that diversification in the Tanzanian clade started ∼15 mya, with the youngest species-level split occurring ∼8 mya. Three species occur across multiple mountain ranges in the EAM or occur also on Mt. Hanang, and biogeographic analyses suggest a complex history of Xenocaucus in East Africa.
KeywordsPhylogeny Biogeography Divergence dating Tropical montane forest Biodiversity Afrotropical region
|Funder Name||Grant Number||Funding Note|
|Directorate for Biological Sciences|