Reconstructing routes of invasion of Obama nungara (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida) in the Iberian Peninsula
Among other factors, globalization has promoted the spread of alien organisms, posing a great risk to Earth’s biodiversity. Land planarians of the family Geoplanidae especially benefit from human-mediated transport. Many species become established in new areas, where they represent threats to the native soil fauna. Obama nungara is a species described from Brazil, but with many well-established populations in Europe. In this study, specimens from Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Spain were morphologically and molecularly studied to establish the potential origin of the invasive events within the Iberian Peninsula. Analyses of the mitochondrial lineages (haplotype networks) of these populations revealed previously unknown relationships and biogeographical patterns that suggest an Argentine origin for the Iberian populations. Furthermore, comparative analysis of Argentine, Iberian and Brazilian populations revealed three well-defined and distinct O. nungara clades. Our findings suggest two independent introductions of different populations from Argentina that gave rise to the different Iberian populations. This population diversity suggests hidden biodiversity of alien land planarians in invaded areas and their invasive and adaptive potential.
KeywordsBiodiversity Biological invasions Distribution Haplotype networks Neotropical land planarian
This work was supported by the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), funded by project CGL2011-29916 (Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness). LN, FB and CD are financed by Project N11/728 and N11/886 (FCNyM-UNLP), PIP 11220120100635CO (CONICET) and PICT 2014-0768 (ANPCyT). The authors are deeply indebted to Lourdes Alcaraz for their help and assistance in obtaining Obama’s original genetic sequences. We are grateful to the staff of the greenhouses that collaborated with us.
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