Polar Biology

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 1369–1377 | Cite as

Molecular investigation of the phylogenetic position of the polar nudibranch Doridoxa (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Heterobranchia)

  • Jermaine Mahguib
  • Ángel ValdésEmail author
Original Paper


The phylogenetic position of the polar nudibranch genus Doridoxa within Nudibranchia is controversial. Because Doridoxa is only found in polar deep waters specimens available for research are scarce. Additionally, Doridoxa possesses a mixture of morphological traits that are present in the two major lineages of nudibranchs (dorids and cladobranchs), making classification difficult. All previous classification attempts were based on the careful study of morphological characters and resulted in conflicting classification schemes. For the present paper, we had access to a representative specimen of Doridoxa that yielded clean sequences of two mitochondrial genes (16S, CO1) and a nuclear gene (H3). The goal of this study was to determine the phylogenetic position of Doridoxa within Nudibranchia using molecular data. Our results revealed that Doridoxa appears to be a member of Cladobranchia and therefore a more derived group of nudibranchs than previously considered by most authors.


Arctic Deep water Molecular phylogeny Systematics 



The US NIH supported the MBRS-RISE program (5R25GM061190), which provided us with funding for laboratory supplies and sequencing. The California Academy of Sciences allowed us to take tissue samples from nudibranch specimens in their invertebrate zoology collection, and Elizabeth Kools and Terrence Gosliner in particular assisted us in this regard. Javier Murillo from the Instituto Español de Oceanografía and Linda Kuhnz from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute provided us with the specimens of Doridoxa ingolfiana and Bathydoris aioca that were used in this study. Three anonymous reviewers made constructive criticisms that greatly improved the manuscript. Michael Schrödl assisted with the identification of the specimen of Doridoxa ingolfiana and provided many useful comments. Alexander Martynov provided important suggestions and data on nudibranch evolution. Lastly, we would like to acknowledge a few Cal Poly Pomona graduate alumni for their contributions in terms of training of the first author in molecular techniques and statistical analyses (Jennifer Alexander, Jessica Goodheart, Dieta Hanson, and Elysse Ornelas) and former research assistants who helped with DNA extractions and sequence amplification (Sarah Madero and Katherine Mock).

Supplementary material

300_2015_1700_MOESM1_ESM.tif (95.2 mb)
Simplified trees (names of terminal taxa removed) of the individual tree analyses (both Bayesian and maximum likelihood, showing the position of Doridoxa and Bathydoris as well as the monophyly of Cladobranchia (highlighted in red). Only significant support values for important nodes are provided. Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 97478 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesCalifornia State Polytechnic UniversityPomonaUSA

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