Phasmatodea exhibit a variety of cryptic ecomorphs associated with various microhabitats. Multiple ecomorphs are present in the stick insect fauna from Papua New Guinea, including the tree lobster, spiny, and long slender forms. While ecomorphs have long been recognized in phasmids, there has yet to be an attempt to objectively define and study the evolution of these ecomorphs. Using principal component analysis, PERMANOVA, ANOVA, and phylogenetic reconstructions, we examined the evolution of ecomorphs in the Lonchodinae stick insects of Papua New Guinea. Phylogenetic reconstructions were performed via maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods and ecomorphs were mapped onto recovered topologies to assess patterns of ecomorph evolution. Statistical test supported a general tree lobster ecomorph grouping with overlap of the slender and spiny ecomorph groups. Phylogenetic reconstructions recovered predominantly congruent topologies, with indications of ecomorph convergence across Phasmatodea. Three independent origins of the tree lobster ecomorph were recovered within the subfamily Lonchodinae. When ecomorph evolution was examined across Phasmatodea, multiple origins of the slender, spiny, tree lobster, and large winged ecomorphs were also recovered.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Biology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Pacheco, Yelena Marlese, "Ecomorph Convergence in Stick Insects (Phasmatodea) with Emphasis on the Lonchodinae of Papua New Guinea" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 7444.
Phasmatodea, ecomorph, convergence, phylogeny