Insects are the most speciose group of animals, but the phylogenetic relationships of many major lineages remain unresolved. We inferred the phylogeny of insects from 1478 protein-coding genes. Phylogenomic analyses of nucleotide and amino acid sequences, with site-specific nucleotide or domain-specific amino acid substitution models, produced statistically robust and congruent results resolving previously controversial phylogenetic relations hips. We dated the origin of insects to the Early Ordovician [~479 million years ago (Ma)], of insect flight to the Early Devonian (~406 Ma), of major extant lineages to the Mississippian (~345 Ma), and the major diversification of holometabolous insects to the Early Cretaceous. Our phylogenomic study provides a comprehensive reliable scaffold for future comparative analyses of evolutionary innovations among insects.
Sperm ultrastructure and spermiogenesis of the dipluran Japygidae (Japyx solifugus, Metajapyx braueri and Occasjapyx japonicus) and Campodeidae (Campodea sp.) were studied with the aim of looking for potential characters for the reconstruction of the phylogenetic relationships of basal hexapods. Both Japygidae and Campodeidae share a common sperm axonemal model 9+9+2, provided with nine accessory microtubules. These microtubules, however, after their formation lose the usual position around the 9+2 and migrate between the two mitochondria. In Japygidae, four of these microtubules are very short and were observed beneath the nucleus after negative staining and serial sections. Accessory microtubules have 13 protofilaments in their tubular wall. Diplura have a sperm morphology which is very different from that of the remaining Entognatha (Protura+Collembola). On the basis of the present results, the presence of accessory microtubules suggests that Diplura are the sister-group of the Insecta s.s.. Moreover, Japygidae and Campodeidae differ with regards to the relative position of the sperm components, the former having the axoneme starting from beneath the nucleus (above which sits the short acrosome), while the latter having a long apical acrosome and a nucleus running parallel with the proximal part of the axoneme. The present study also allowed to redescribe the male genital system of Japyx.
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