From Gondwana to GAARlandia: Evolutionary history and biogeography of ogre‐faced spiders (Deinopis)
In our new paper we explore the evolutionary history of the ogre‐faced spiders (Deinopis) from their Early Cretaceous origins to present day. Specifically, we investigate how vicariance and dispersal have shaped distribution patterns of this lineage. Within the Caribbean, we test the role of GAARlandia, a hypothesized land bridge that connected South America to the Greater Antilles during the Eocene–Oligocene transition (~35–33 Ma), in the biogeography of Deinopis. The Deinopis phylogeny corresponds well with geography. This is reflected in the support for the GAARlandia land bridge hypothesis and the phylogenetic relationships within and among Caribbean islands mirroring nuances of Caribbean geologic history. Overwater dispersal also plays an important role in the biogeographic history of this lineage as implicated in the colonization of the volcanic and sedimentary Lesser Antilles and in a “reverse” colonization of North America.