, Volume 486, Issue 1, pp 101-113

Molecular characterization of the tadpole shrimp Triops (Branchiopoda: Notostraca) from the Baja California Peninsula, México: New insights on species diversity and phylogeny of the genus

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Using sequence analyses of fragments of the small and large subunits of mitochondrial genes 12S and 16S rRNA, we studied the molecular identity of five Triops populations from the Baja California Peninsula, México. Additionally, we explored the phylogeny of the genus by comparing with sequence data from gonochoric T. longicaudatus (Zacatecas, México), commercial Triops kit (U.S.A.), T. `granarius' (Japan), T. cancriformis (Austria), T. australiensis (Australia) and Lepidurus lemmoni (U.S.A.). The 16S fragment was not useful to discriminate the American Triops forms because their sequences were more than 99% similar. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses using the 12S gene fragments, in agreement with previous allozyme studies, indicate that the nominal (morphological) species T. longicaudatus is a mixture of several species such that, of the seven Triops American populations studied, six phylogenetic species can be identified and two morphologically and reproductively highly divergent forms can be grouped into a single monophyletic clade. The molecular data, rather than supporting our previous proposal that the phylogenetic relationships of Triops species could be deduced by similarities in the number of total and legless rings, suggest that T. cancriformis may represent an independent group from the rest of the species in that genus. In spite of detectable differences among American populations, our analyses indicate these represent a single monophyletic group when compared to Triops from outside of the New World.