The evolutionary history of the genus Timarcha (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) inferred from mitochondrial COII gene and partial 16S rDNA sequences.Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2000 Feb; 14(2):304-17.MP
The apterous genus Timarcha consists of three subgenera and more than 100 species in its Palearctic distribution, with specialized feeding on few plant families. Fifty-four sequences sampled from 31 taxa of the genus plus three outgroup leaf beetles were studied for their complete cytochrome oxidase II (COII) and a fragment of 16S rDNA mitochondrial genes, representing a total of about 1200 bp. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum-parsimony and distance methods for each gene separately and for the combined data set gave compatible topologies. The subgenus Metallotimarcha consistently appears in a basal position and is well differentiated from the remaining Timarcha, but no clear monophyletic grouping of Timarchostoma and Timarcha s. str. subgenera can be deduced from our analysis. Calibration of the molecular clock has been done using the opening of the Gibraltar Strait after the Messinian salinity crisis (about 5.5 MYA) as the biogeographic event causing disjunction of two particular taxa. Accordingly, the COII evolutionary rate has been estimated to be of 0.76 x 10(-8) substitution/site/year in Timarcha. Relation between phylogeny and host-plant use indicates widening of trophic regime as a derived character in Timarcha.