2016 Volume 91 Issue 4 Pages 209-215
The giant rhinoceros beetles (Dynastini, Scarabaeidae, Coleoptera) are distributed in tropical and temperate regions in Asia, America and Africa. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies have revealed that the giant rhinoceros beetles can be divided into three clades representing Asia, America and Africa. Although a correlation between their evolution and the continental drift during the Pangean breakup was suggested, there is no accurate divergence time estimation among the three clades based on molecular data. Moreover, there is a long chronological gap between the timing of the Pangean breakup (Cretaceous: 110–148 Ma) and the emergence of the oldest fossil record (Oligocene: 33 Ma). In this study, we estimated their divergence times based on molecular data, using several combinations of fossil calibration sets, and obtained robust estimates. The inter-continental divergence events among the clades were estimated to have occurred about 99 Ma (Asian clade and others) and 78 Ma (American clade and African clade), both of which are after the Pangean breakup. These estimates suggest their inter-continental divergences occurred by overseas sweepstakes dispersal, rather than by vicariances of the population caused by the Pangean breakup.