Marine Biology

, Volume 124, Issue 2, pp 267–278

Evolution and systematics in Haliotidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda): inferences from DNA sequences of sperm lysin

  • Youn-Ho Lee
  • V. D. Vacquier

DOI: 10.1007/BF00347131

Cite this article as:
Lee, Y. & Vacquier, V.D. Marine Biology (1995) 124: 267. doi:10.1007/BF00347131


Abalone taxonomy and systematics have remained unresolved: neither stable species-level nomenclature nor a cladistic hypothesis of relationships among species have been established. To infer the phylogeny of the genus Haliotis and to identify species using molecular data, we compared complementary DNA (cDNA) sequences of sperm lysin from 27 species-group taxa from California, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Borneo, Madagascar, South Africa, Greece, France, Italy and the Azores. The lysin cDNA sequences reveal that 22 of the 27 taxa are clearly distinguishable by >20 nucleotide differences. Of the remaining 5, H. coccinea from the Azores may be a subspecies of H. tuberculata, if not a sibling species (10 nucleotide differences). The other four taxa are most probably the same species as one of the 22 taxa: the lysin sequences are almost identical between H. madaka and H. discus hannai, H. conicopora and H. rubra, H. diversicolor supertexta and H. diversicolor aquatilis, and H. tuberculata lamellosa and H. tuberculata tuberculata. The phylogeny of lysin cDNA suggests that there are three groups among the 27 species-group taxa: (1) all California species and 3 Japanese species (H. gigantea, H. discus hannai, and H. madaka): (2) 1 New Zealand species (H. iris); (3) 1 Japanese species (H. diversicolor aquatilis), Indo-West Pacific species and European species. These groups can be assigned to three previously recognized subgenera (Nordotis, Paua and Padollus) in the genus Haliotis. Two historical hypotheses are proposed to explain the biogeography and evolution within these abalone: (1) Tethyan distribution of the ancestral abalone, during the Cretaceous, followed by extinction in most of the habitat, but radiation in California and Southeast Asia which later spread to the other areas; (2) North Pacific rim distribution of the ancestral abalone, followed by dispersal to the other areas during the Paleogene.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youn-Ho Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • V. D. Vacquier
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Biology, 156-29California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.Marine Biology Research Division and Center for Marine Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California at San DiegoLa JollaUSA