Phylogenomics of endemic Australian Ulopinae (Hemiptera: Cicadomorpha: Cicadellidae)

Olivia Evangelista, Nikolai Tatarnic, Keith Bayless

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Ulopinae is a distinctive subfamily of leafhoppers that is widely distributed across the Afrotropical, Palearctic, Indomalayan and Australasian regions. The ulopine fauna of Australia is entirely endemic and includes two tribes of striking appearance, the Ulopini and Cephalelini. Knowledge of these groups is fragmentary and in many instances, no information is available beyond original descriptions. We assess the monophyly, phylogenetic placement and species-level diversity of the Ulopini genus Austrolopa. Phylogenetic analyses based on sequence data from target nuclear loci (18S, 28S, H2A and H3) and mitochondrial genomes (15 genes) for 23 membracoid taxa yielded congruent topologies. Our results provide strong evidence for the monophyly of Ulopinae and a clade consisting of Ulopini + Cephalelini. However, a non-monophyletic Cephalelini arises from within a polyphyletic Ulopini. Austrolopa was strongly recovered as monophyletic in all analyses, a result also supported by morphological features. The genus currently includes six species, three of which are described based on morphological and molecular data: Austrolopa botanica, sp. nov., Austrolopa rotunda, sp. nov. and Austrolopa sublima, sp. nov. A lectotype designation is provided for Austrolopa kingensis Evans, 1937, sp. reval. Our findings illustrate that the Australian Ulopinae is far more diverse than currently circumscribed and several species of Austrolopa are yet to be recognised. ZooBank:

Original languageEnglish
Article numberIS23035
Number of pages19
JournalInvertebrate Systematics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024


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