Phylogenetic heritability of geographic range size in haematophagous ectoparasites: time of divergence and variation among continents Academic Article uri icon


  • To understand existence, patterns and mechanisms behind phylogenetic heritability in the geographic range size (GRS) of parasites, we measured phylogenetic signal (PS) in the sizes of both regional (within a region) and continental (within a continent) geographic ranges of fleas in five regions. We asked whether (a) GRS is phylogenetically heritable and (b) the manifestation of PS varies between regions. We also asked whether geographic variation in PS reflects the effects of the environment's spatiotemporal stability (e.g. glaciation disrupting geographic ranges) or is associated with time since divergence (accumulation differences among species over time). Support for the former hypothesis would be indicated by stronger PS in southern than in northern regions, whereas support for the latter hypothesis would be shown by stronger PS in regions with a large proportion of species belonging to the derived lineages than in regions with a large proportion of species belonging to the basal lineages. We detected significant PS in both regional and continental GRSs of fleas from Canada and in continental GRS of fleas from Mongolia. No PS was found in the GRS of fleas from Australia and Southern Africa. Venezuelan fleas demonstrated significant PS in regional GRS only. Local Indicators of Phylogenetic Association detected significant local positive autocorrelations of GRS in some clades even in regions in which PS has not been detected across the entire phylogeny. This was mainly characteristic of younger taxa.

publication date

  • April 1, 2018