Genetic evidence for the recognition of two fiddler crabs, Uca iranica and U. albimana (Crustacea: Brachyura: Ocypodidae), from the northwestern Indian Ocean, with notes on the U. lactea species-complex
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The status of two poorly known fiddler crabs, Uca iranica Pretzmann, 1971, from the Persian Gulf, and U. albimana (Kossmann, 1877), from the Red Sea, was studied using two mitochondrial genes: the large subunit (16S) ribosomal (r)RNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI). A molecular phylogeny shows both U. iranica and U. albimana to be members of a monophyletic U. lactea species-complex containing six taxa, with three highly supported internal clades. Uca iranica and U. albimana are the closest genetically, but are different enough to be considered valid species (16S rRNA nucleotide divergence > 7.0%, and COI > 11.9%), and form a highly supported “western” clade with U. annulipes (in line with the original morphological concept). A West Pacific “eastern” clade includes U. lactea in the north and the more widely ranging U. perplexa. An Australian endemic species, U. mjoebergi, forms a third monotypic clade.