The identification of concerted convergence in insect heads corroborates Palaeoptera
Blanke, A and Greve, C and Wipfler, B and Beutel, R and Holland, BR and Misof, B, The identification of concerted convergence in insect heads corroborates Palaeoptera, Systematic Biology, 62, (2) pp. 250-263. ISSN 1063-5157 (2013) [Refereed Article]
The relationships of the 3 major clades of winged insects—Ephemeroptera, Odonata, and Neoptera—are still unclear. Many morphologists favor a clade Metapterygota (Odonata +Neoptera), but Chiastomyaria (Ephemeroptera + Neoptera) or Palaeoptera (Ephemeroptera +Odonata) has also been supported in some older and more recent studies. A possible explanation for the difficulties in resolving these relationships is concerted convergence—the convergent evolution of entire character complexes under the same or similar selective pressures. In this study, we analyze possible instances of this phenomenon in the context of head structures of Ephemeroptera, Odonata, and Neoptera. We apply a recently introduced formal approach to detect the occurrence of concerted convergence. We found that characters of the tentorium and mandibles in particular, but also some other head structures, have apparently not evolved independently, and thus can cause artifacts in tree reconstruction. Our subsequent analyses, which exclude character sets that may be affected by concerted convergence, corroborate the Palaeoptera concept. We show that the analysis of homoplasy and its influence on tree inference can be formally improved with important consequences for the identification of incompatibilities between data sets. Our results suggest that modified weighting (or exclusion of characters) in cases of formally identified correlated cliques of characters may improve morphology-based tree reconstruction.