A different tempo of mitochondrial DNA evolution in birds and their parasitic lice.Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1998 Apr; 9(2):276-93.MP
A phylogeny for the lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera: genus Dennyus) parasitic on swiftlets (Aves: Collocalliinae) was constructed based on mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA sequences. This phylogeny is congruent with previous phenetic analyses of morphometric data for the lice. Comparison with a previously obtained phylogeny for the hosts indicates some degree of cospeciation. These cospeciation events are used to compare relative rates of evolution in the birds and their lice for the same segment of the cytochrome b gene. Cytochrome b is evolving two to three times more rapidly in lice than in birds, and louse cytochrome b is highly divergent compared to that of most other insects. Although generation time has been suggested as an explanation for the disparity in evolutionary rates between lice and their hosts, we suggest that the small effective population sizes of lice coupled with founder events occurring during transmission to new host individuals may be an important factor.