Evolution and Biogeography of High Appalachian Rove Beetles (Staphylinidae)

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Plant and Environmental Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Michael S. Caterino

Committee Member

Dr. Peter Adler

Committee Member

Dr. Juan Antonio Baeza Migueles

Committee Member

Dr. Stylianos Chatzimanolis


The southern Appalachian Mountains are a region of great species richness and a center of endemism in many taxa, including flightless arthropods. High elevation refugia have facilitated the persistence of ancient lineages (paleoendemism) and in situ speciation (neoendemism), but their ubiquity, timing, and relative importance is unknown. Congruent patterns among co-distributed, but independent taxa might illuminate common drivers of Appalachian endemism. In this dissertation, I investigated the influence of allopatric speciation, geography, and paleoclimate events on the diversification of endemic species in two genera of rove beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae), Lathrobium Gravenhorst and Ischnosoma Stephens, using an integrative morphological and molecular approach. The taxonomy of Nearctic Lathrobium was also reviewed. Phylogenetic inference, molecular clock analysis, and species delimitation analyses revealed a common pattern of allopatric cryptic speciation and deep genetic population structure in both genera and highlighted the phylogeographic influence of Quaternary climate events and river basins as barriers to dispersal. However, distributions and the timing and depth of divergences were inconsistent. The origins of endemic high Appalachian beetle diversity were complex and idiosyncratic, likely influenced by life history traits and stochasticity.

Author ORCID Identifier


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