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The Migidae are a family of austral trapdoor spiders known to show a highly restricted and disjunct distribution pattern. Here, we aim to investigate the phylogeny and historical biogeography of the group, which was previously thought to be vicariant in origin, and examine the biogeographic origins of the genus Moggridgea using a dated multi-gene phylogeny. Moggridgea specimens were sampled from southern Australia and Africa, and Bertmainus was sampled from Western Australia. Sanger sequencing methods were used to generate a robust six marker molecular dataset consisting of the nuclear genes 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, ITS rRNA, XPNPEP3 and H3 and the mitochondrial gene COI. Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods were used to analyse the dataset, and the key dispersal nodes were dated using BEAST. Based on our data, we demonstrate that Moggridgea rainbowi from Kangaroo Island, Australia is a valid member of the otherwise African genus Moggridgea. Molecular clock dating analyses show that the inter-specific divergence of M. rainbowi from African congeners is between 2.27–16.02 million years ago (Mya). This divergence date significantly post-dates the separation of Africa from Gondwana (95 Mya) and therefore does not support a vicariant origin for Australian Moggridgea. It also pre-dates human colonisation of Kangaroo Island, a result which is further supported by the intra-specific divergence date of 1.10–6.39 Mya between separate populations on Kangaroo Island. These analyses provide strong support for the hypothesis that Moggridgea colonised Australia via long-distance trans-Indian Ocean dispersal, representing the first such documented case in a mygalomorph spider.




Maximum likelihood analysis was undertaken using RAxML on the BlackBox server for the combined six gene, 4118 character, 36 taxa dataset. COI, H3 and XPNPEP3 partitioned by codons and ITS1, 5.8S, ITS2 and 28S partitioned individually, with the GTR + G model used for all genes. This analysis resolved the genera Moggridgea and Bertmainius as reciprocally monophyletic, with M. rainbowi from KI clearly embedded within the African Moggridgea lineage and sister to M. intermedia (bootstrap value 100) (Fig 1). Furthermore, M. rainbowi formed a monophyletic group, but showed phylogeographic structure, with haplotypes reflecting the two geographic locations (Western River and American River). The MrBayes analysis of the same dataset produced a completely concordant tree.




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 License.