Phylogeny and biogeography of the pantropical whip spider family Charinidae (Arachnida: Amblypygi)

The present contribution addresses the phylogeny and biogeography of the pantropical whip spider family Charinidae Quintero, 1986, the most species-rich in the arachnid order Amblypygi Thorell, 1883, based on morphology and multilocus DNA sequences, analysed simultaneously using parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. The morphological matrix comprises 138 characters, scored for four outgroup taxa and 103 ingroup terminals representing all genera and 64% of the species of Charinidae. The multilocus dataset comprises sequences from two nuclear and three mitochondrial gene loci for four outgroup taxa and 48 ingroup representing 30 (23%) taxa of Charinidae. Charinidae are monophyletic, with Weygoldtia Miranda et al., 2018 sister to a monophyletic group comprising Charinus Simon, 1892 and Sarax Simon, 1892, neither of which are reciprocally monophyletic. Charinidae diverged from other amblypygid families in the Late Carboniferous, c. 318 Mya, on the supercontinent Pangaea. Weygoldtia diverged from the common ancestor of Charinus and Sarax during the Late Permian, c. 257 Mya, when changes in climate reduced tropical forests. The divergence of Charinus and Sarax coincides with the fragmentation of Pangaea, c. 216 Mya. Sarax colonized South-East Asia via Australia. The charinid fauna of New Caledonia originated before the Oligocene, when the island separated from Australia, c. 80 Mya.