Species identity and genetic structure of nemerteans of the “Lineus ruber–viridis” complex (Muller, 1774) from Arctic waters

  • Irina A. Cherneva
  • Alexei V. ChernyshevEmail author
  • Irina A. Ekimova
  • Neonila E. Polyakova
  • Dimitry M. Schepetov
  • Sergei V. Turanov
  • Tatiana V. Neretina
  • Elena M. Chaban
  • Vladimir V. Malakhov
Original Paper


Lineus species are the most abundant nemerteans that inhabit boreal regions of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and are the focus of many zoological studies. However, its taxonomy and species composition in Arctic areas remain poorly known. In this study, we performed an updated genetic analysis of nemerteans from the “Lineus ruber–viridis” complex, clarified its species composition in the White Sea, and identified their diagnostic features. Molecular data based on mtDNA analysis indicate the presence of L. ruber, L. viridis, and L. clandestinus in the studied area, which was consistent with morphological data. Short descriptions of external morphological features are provided. External morphologies of European and White Sea Lineus species have some peculiarities: L. clandestinus from the White Sea lacks the iridescent ventral fold, and L. ruber has an unusual “green” form. The recovered genetic structure differed among the three species, which may have resulted from different dispersal scenarios during the last glacial maximum. The low level of nucleotide diversity combined with the typical star-like structure of the network indicated that an ancestral northern L. ruber population underwent a bottleneck event in the recent historical past.


Lineus Nemertea Integrative taxonomy Field identification Arctic Population genetics 



The present research was supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research grants (No 18–04–00704 and 18-05-60158). The genetical investigations were supported by Russian Science Foundation (project No 14–50–00034). We thank A. Borisanova and S. Pyataeva for supplying several specimens from the White Sea. Malin Strand, Hiroshi Kajihara and one anonymous reviewer are owed special thanks for constructive criticism that improved the manuscript. We thank Mallory Eckstut, PhD, from Edanz Group ( for editing a draft of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

300_2018_2438_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (165 kb)
Supplementary file1 (PDF 165 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.National Scientific Center of Marine BiologyFar Eastern Branch RASVladivostokRussia
  3. 3.Far Eastern Federal UniversityVladivostokRussia
  4. 4.Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology RASMoscowRussia
  5. 5.Zoological Institute RASSt. PetersburgRussia

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