The family Polycentropodidae occurs worldwide, and is represented in the Americas by Cernotina Ross 1938, Cyrnellus Banks 1913, Nyctiophylax Brauer 1865, Polycentropus Banks 1907 and Polyplectropus Ulmer 1905. Cernotina and Cyrnellus are exclusive to the New World, reaching their highest diversity in the Neotropics, with 75 and 12 described species respectively. Despite this diversity, none of the two have had revisionary work done, and the taxonomic information is scattered in many different papers by many authors across the 20th and early 21st Century. In Chapter 1, I ran the first phylogenetic analyses on the diverse genus Cernotina, using morphological characters of the male adult, especially the genitalia. To analyze the character matrix, I used Maximum Parsimony and Bayesian inference. In Maximum Parsimony, I used equally-weighted analyses with two different search strategies, one simple run and another with multiple rounds saving suboptimal trees to filter for a better set of most parsimonious trees, and an implied-weights analysis, using a posteriori character weigthing to achieve better resolution. In the Bayesian inference, I used Mk model + lognormal distribution, commonly used in morphological data. The results suggest the monophyly of Cernotina, adds phylogenetic evidence for synonymization of Ce. perpendicularis with Ce. lanceolata, and Ce. hastilis with Ce. nigridentata, and group certain species with morphological and geographic congruence, such as Ce. acalyptra + Ce. cystophora + Ce. encrypta, and Ce. lutea + Ce. cadeti, respectively. However, the overall resolution of the simple maximum-parsimony and the Bayesian trees were very low. In addition, the branch support for most nodes is also very low. This result might be due to the nature of the genitalic characters of Cernotina, being extremely variable on all its components, making the task of finding character congruence difficult. With additional data such as DNA sequence and geometric morphometrics, such issues could be alleviated. In Chapter 2, I revised the genus Cernotina at species-level. I discussed the complex homology of the morphological characters of the male genitalia, especially concerning the intermediate appendage and its relation to the Xth tergum and the preanal appendage, produced illustrations and comparative diagnoses for each species in the genus, and taxonomic descriptions for 64 species. In addition, I described 16 new species. I also proposed 2 synonymies considering the phylogenetic data from Chapter 1: Ce. lanceolata as junior synonym of Ce. perpendicularis, and Ce. nigridentata as junior synonym of Ce. hastilis. In Chapter 3, I revised the genus Cyrnellus at species-level. I also discussed the homology of the morphological characters of the much simpler male genitalia of the genus, produced a key to species of Cyrnellus, provided illustrations, and full taxonomic descriptions for 11 species. In addition, I reinstated the validity of Cy. minimus based on the morphology of the inferior appendage in ventral view. I also synonymized 2 species based on morphological similarity and high variability among specimens: Cy. keskes as junior synonym of Cy. minimus, and Cy. kozepes as junior synonym of Cy. ulmeri.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2020. Major: Entomology. Advisor: Ralph Holzenthal. 1 computer file (PDF); xvi, 321 pages + 2 supplemental files.
Systematics Of Cernotina Ross And Cyrnellus Banks (Insecta: Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae).
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