Fifth mass extinction event triggered the diversification of the largest family of freshwater gastropods (Caenogastropoda: Truncatelloidea: Hydrobiidae)
The fifth mass extinction event (MEE) at the Cretaceous–Palaeogene (K–Pg) boundary 66 million years ago (Ma) led to massive species loss but also triggered the diversification of higher taxa. Five models have been proposed depending on whether this diversification occurred before, during or after the K–Pg boundary and the rate of species ... accumulation. While the effects of the K–Pg MEE on vertebrate evolution are relatively well understood, the impact on invertebrates, particularly in freshwater ecosystems, remains controversial. One example is the hyperdiverse Hydrobiidae—the most species-rich family of freshwater gastropods. Whereas some studies place its origin in the Jurassic or even Carboniferous, most fossil records postdate the K–Pg event. We therefore used robustly time-calibrated multi-locus phylogenies of >400 species representing >100 hydrobiid genera to unravel its evolutionary history and patterns of diversification. We found that the family started diversifying shortly after the K–Pg boundary (∼60 Ma; 95% highest posterior density 52–69 Ma). Lineage richness gradually increased to the present and phylogenetic diversity until ∼25 Ma. These findings suggest that diversification was not initially driven by ecological opportunity. Combining the two criteria of timing and rate of diversification, a soft-explosive diversification model of aquatic vertebrates best fits the patterns observed. We also show that most higher hydrobiid taxa (i.e. subfamilies) diversified from the Middle Oligocene to Middle Miocene (i.e. 12–28 Ma). Two of the 15 major clades delimited are described here as new subfamilies (i.e. Bullaregiinae n. subfam. and Pontobelgrandiellinae n. subfam.), whose members are restricted to subterranean waters. Our results are an important contribution to understanding how the fifth MEE has shaped evolution and patterns of biodiversity in continental aquatic systems. Given the high extinction risks faced by many hydrobiids today, they also emphasise the need to study the biodiversity of vulnerable ecosystems.
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