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Toussaint, Emmanuel F. A.; Tänzler, Rene; Balke, Michael; Riedel, Alexander (2017): Transoceanic origin of microendemic and flightless New Caledonian weevils. In: Royal Society Open Science, Vol. 4, No. 6, 160546
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The origin of the astonishing New Caledonian biota continues to fuel a heated debate among advocates of a Gondwanan relict scenario and defenders of late oceanic dispersal. Here, we study the origin of New Caledonian Trigonopterus flightless weevils using a multimarker molecular phylogeny. We infer two independent clades of species found in the archipelago. Our dating estimates suggest a Late Miocene origin of both clades long after the re-emergence of New Caledonia about 37 Ma. The estimation of ancestral ranges supports an ancestral origin of the genus in a combined region encompassing Australia and New Guinea with subsequent colonizations of New Caledonia out of New Guinea in the mid-Miocene. The two New Caledonian lineages have had very different evolutionary trajectories. Colonizers belonging to a clade of foliage dwellers greatly diversified, whereas species inhabiting leaf-litter have been less successful.