Relationships between the five extant orders of centipedes have been considered solved based on morphology. Phylogenies based on samples of up to a few dozen genes have largely been congruent with the morphological tree apart from an alternative placement of one order, the relictual Craterostigmomorpha, consisting of two species in Tasmania and New Zealand. To address this incongruence, novel transcriptomic data were generated to sample all five orders of centipedes and also used as a test case for studying gene-tree incongruence. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian mixture model analyses of a data set composed of 1,934 orthologs with 45% missing data, as well as the 389 orthologs in the least saturated, stationary quartile, retrieve strong support for a sister-group relationship between Craterostigmomorpha and all other pleurostigmophoran centipedes, of which the latter group is newly named Amalpighiata. The Amalpighiata hypothesis, which shows little gene-tree incongruence and is robust to the influence of among-taxon compositional heterogeneity, implies convergent evolution in several morphological and behavioral characters traditionally used in centipede phylogenetics, such as maternal brood care, but accords with patterns of first appearances in the fossil record.
Keywords: Chilopoda; Illumina; Myriapoda; incongruence; molecular dating; next-generation sequencing; phylogenomics.
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