Phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial genes supports species groups for Columbicola (Insecta: Phthiraptera)

Kevin P. Johnson, David L. Reed, Shaless L. Hammond Parker, Dukgun Kim, Dale H. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dove louse genus Columbicola has become a model system for studying the interface between microevolutionary processes and macroevolutionary patterns. This genus of parasitic louse (Phthiraptera) contains 80 described species placed into 24 species groups. Samples of Columbicola representing 49 species from 78 species of hosts were obtained and sequenced for mitochondrial (COI and 12S) and nuclear (EF-1α) genes. We included multiple representatives from most host species for a total of 154 individual Columbicola, the largest molecular phylogenetic study of a genus of parasitic louse to date. These sequences revealed considerable divergence within several widespread species of lice, and in some cases these species were paraphyletic. These divergences correlated with host association, indicating the potential for cryptic species in several of these widespread louse species. Both parsimony and Bayesian maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses of these sequences support monophyly for nearly all the non-monotypic species groups included in this study. These trees also revealed considerable structure with respect to biogeographic region and host clade association. These patterns indicated that switching of parasites between host clades is limited by biogeographic proximity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-518
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Coevolution
  • Ischnocera
  • Lice
  • Molecular systematics
  • Parasitism
  • Phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial genes supports species groups for Columbicola (Insecta: Phthiraptera)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this