Phylogenetic relationships among members of the Aphid genus Brachycaudus (Homoptera: Aphididae) were inferred from partial sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome B oxidase (CytB), two partial fragments of mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (COI) and the internal transcribed spacer II (ITS2) of ribosomal DNA. Twenty-nine species, with several specimens per species, were included, representing all the historically recognized species-groups and subgenera used in the genus except the monospecific subgenus Mordvilkomemor. Results indicate that the genus Brachycaudus is a well-supported monophyletic group. While our results validate the monophyly of subgenera Thuleaphis, Appelia and Brachycaudus s. str., they reveal two discrepancies in the classical taxonomy. First, the monotypic subgenus Nevskyaphis does not appear valid. Second, the traditionally defined Acaudus subgenus is not monophyletic. On the other hand, our phylogenetic trees corroborate Andreev's recent definition of Acaudus and Brachycaudina. However, they clearly show that the subgenera Prunaphis, Nevskyaphis and Scrophulaphis as defined by this author do not form monophyletic groups. Our results also highlight a highly supported clade that has not been discussed by previous authors; this clade could form a new subgenus, the subgenus Nevskyaphis. Finally, our study shows that molecular data and morphology meet the same limits in delimiting species groups and species themselves. Species groups in which taxonomic treatment is difficult are polytomous. Furthermore, except for one node clustering Brachycaudus s. str. and Appelia, intersubgeneric relationships remain poorly resolved even when several genes are added to the phylogenetic analysis. These results, together with previous studies in other aphid groups suggest that diversification might have been a rapid process in aphids.
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