Community assembly on remote islands: a comparison of Hawaiian and Mascarene spiders

Juliane Casquet, Yann X. C. Bourgeois, Corinne Cruaud, Frédérick Gavory, Rosemary G. Gillespie, Christophe Thébaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Spider communities on oceanic islands are assembled through multiple immigration and/or diversification events. In this study, we use a phylogenetic approach to investigate the role of such processes in shaping current patterns of diversity in Tetragnatha spiders from the Mascarene archipelago and to compare these patterns with those found in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Location: Mascarene archipelago, south-western Indian Ocean; Hawaiian archipelago, Pacific Ocean.

Methods: Primary techniques included phylogeny reconstruction (mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I; histone H3) with and without time calibration, delimitation of species using the general mixed Yule coalescent (GMYC) model, and testing for the presence of gene flow between geographically separated populations using the model of isolation with migration (IMA).

Results: The current diversity of Tetragnatha on the Mascarenes has arisen through three independent colonization events with no evidence for in situ diversification. This finding is in stark contrast to the pattern observed in Hawai'i where two to four independent colonization events have been followed by two massive in situ diversification episodes leading to at least 38 species in total.

Main conclusions: While net rates of immigration by Tetragnatha lineages appear relatively similar in the two archipelagos, in situ diversification in Tetragnatha only occurred in Hawai'i, possibly associated with the extreme geographical isolation of this archipelago relative to the Mascarene archipelago. Owing to the greater geographical proximity of the Mascarene archipelago to source pools such as Madagascar, it seems likely that the persistence of gene flow between the source and the islands and/or niche pre-emption by other spider lineages may have reduced opportunities for diversification despite an apparently favourable ecological context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Issue number1
Early online date21 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Community assembly
  • Hawaiian archipelago
  • Historical biogeography
  • Immigration
  • Islands
  • Mascarene archipelago
  • Phylogenetics
  • Spiders
  • Tetragnatha
  • in situ diversification


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