Genetic diversification and demographic history of the cactophilic pseudoscorpion Dinocheirus arizonensis from the Sonoran Desert

Edward Pfeiler, Ben G. Bitler, Sergio Castrezana, Luciano M. Matzkin, Therese A. Markow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Sequence data from a segment of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene were used to examine phylogenetic relationships, estimate gene flow and infer demographic history of the cactophilic chernetid pseudoscorpion, Dinocheirus arizonensis (Banks), from the Sonoran Desert. Phylogenetic trees resolved two clades of D. arizonensis, one from mainland Sonora, Mexico and southern Arizona (clade I) and the other from the Baja California peninsula and southern Arizona (clade II). The two clades were separated by a mean genetic distance (d) of ∼2.6%. Hierarchical analysis of molecular variance indicated highly significant population structuring in D. arizonensis (overall ΦST = 0.860; P < 0.0001), with 80% of the genetic variation distributed among the two clades. Most pairwise comparisons of ΦST among populations within each clade, however, were not significant. The results suggest that phoretic dispersal on vagile cactophilic insects such as the neriid cactus fly Odontoloxozus longicornis (Coquillett) provides sufficient gene flow to offset the accumulation of unique haplotypes within each clade of the non-vagile pseudoscorpion. Preliminary results on dispersal capability of O. longicornis were consistent with this conclusion. Tests designed to reconstruct demographic history from sequence data indicated that both clades of D. arizonensis, as well as O. longicornis, have experienced historical population expansions. Potential barriers to gene flow that may have led to genetic isolation and diversification in clades I and II of D. arizonensis are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I
  • Historical demography
  • Phoresy
  • Phylogenetic relationships
  • Population structure
  • Pseudoscorpiones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic diversification and demographic history of the cactophilic pseudoscorpion Dinocheirus arizonensis from the Sonoran Desert'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this