Three endemic Caribbean praying mantis genera with a complex taxonomic history were recently discovered to be part of a lineage that colonized the Caribbean region during the Cretaceous period (Svenson & Rodrigues, Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 284, 2017). In all classification systems proposed up to now, the three genera, Callimantis, Epaphrodita, and Gonatista, were never considered as close relatives, a reflection of their divergent morphology. More recently, the genus Brancsikia was placed with Epaphrodita in a family based on the similarity of camouflage-related morphology. To address recent phylogenetic results that do not track current classification, we compared the morphology of the three Caribbean genera with each other and representative members of traditional or current family groups. Our morphological analysis of external and male genital characters provides strong support for the Caribbean lineage despite the divergent morphological evolution present in the three genera. We raise this Caribbean lineage to family status by employing a precedent family-group name, Epaphroditidae Brunner de Wattenwyl, 1893 sensu novo. We remove Brancsikia from our new concept of Epaphroditidae, rendering the genus incertae sedis.
Neotropical Entomology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 14, 2017
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