Mesozoic origin of coleoid cephalopods and their abrupt shifts of diversification patterns

David A. López-Córdova, Jorge Avaria-Llautureo, Patricio M. Ulloa, Heather E. Braid, Liam J. Revell, Dirk Fuchs, Christian M. Ibáñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Coleoids are the most diverse group of cephalopod mollusks. While their origin is date during the Mesozoic, the diversification pattern is unknown. However, two hypotheses have been proposed. The first suggests an increasing diversification rate after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event (K–Pg) as consequence of empty habitats left by the ammonites and belemnites. The second hypothesis proposes a mid-Cenozoic increase in diversification rate related to distributional changes during ice ages and biotic interactions. To test these hypotheses, we estimated a lineage through time (LTT) and the gamma-statistic along with model-based diversification rates. These analyses were conducted on a dated molecular phylogeny for coleoids that we reconstructed using five molecular markers (cytochrome b, 16S rRNA, cytochrome oxidase I, rhodopsin, and PAX-6). Our divergence time estimation suggests that coleoids originated in the Mesozoic Era (Middle Triassic) and that both main clades (Decapodiformes and Octopodiformes) diverged in the Cretaceous/Jurassic Period. The LTT, gamma statistic, and diversification rates inferred with the Bayesian Analysis of Macro-evolutionary Mixtures (BAMM), indicate an acceleration in diversification rate over time since the origin of coleoids. Additionally, BAMM allowed us to detect abrupt increases in diversification rate before and after the K-Pg boundary. Our results partially support both hypotheses as all analyses indicate that the coleoid diversification rate was increasing during the Cenozoic. However, our results also indicate increasing diversification rates before the K-Pg boundary. We propose that the radiation of coleoids has been shaped by an acceleration in diversification rate over time, including exceptional episodes of abrupt increases before and after the K-Pg boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107331
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Cephalopoda
  • Divergence times
  • Diversification
  • Phylogeny
  • Speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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