Beetles represent almost one-fourth of all described species,and knowledge about their relationships and evolution adds toour understanding of biodiversity. We performed a comprehensivephylogenetic analysis of Coleoptera inferred from three genesand nearly 1900 species, representing more than 80% of the world'srecognized beetle families. We defined basal relationships inthe Polyphaga supergroup, which contains over 300,000 species,and established five families as the earliest branching lineages.By dating the phylogeny, we found that the success of beetlesis explained neither by exceptional net diversification ratesnor by a predominant role of herbivory and the Cretaceous riseof angiosperms. Instead, the pre-Cretaceous origin of more than100 present-day lineages suggests that beetle species richnessis due to high survival of lineages and sustained diversificationin a variety of niches.
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