, Volume 800, Issue 1, pp 61–79 | Cite as

Cryptic diversity and speciation in endemic Cytherissa (Ostracoda, Crustacea) from Lake Baikal

  • Isa Schön
  • Valentina Pieri
  • Dimtry Yu Sherbakov
  • Koen Martens


Lake Baikal (Siberia) is the most ancient and deepest of all ancient lakes on Earth. It holds a (mostly endemic) diversity of thousands of animal species, including a speciose radiation of ostracods of the genus Cytherissa. Applying molecular tools to this crustacean group reveals that several morphological species are actually species clusters. Based on combined 16S and 28S DNA sequence data from thirteen classic Cytherissa species and one subspecies sensu Mazepova (1990), we recognize 26 different genetic Cytherissa species, 18 with morphological variation and eight truly cryptic species. These results suggest that the actual specific diversity of Cytherissa in Lake Baikal might easily be double of what is presently known. Baikalian endemic species most likely live in the cradle in which they originated and this opens perspectives to infer modes of speciation. Our current distribution data of Cytherissa species provide first indications for both geographic (lakes basins and shores) and ecological (sediment type, water depth) separation. Our present data thus provide the first steps towards future, rigorous testing of focussed hypotheses on the causality of speciation through either allopatric isolation or parapatric ecological clines.


Allopatric speciation Parapatric speciation Depth distribution Sediment types Lake basins East–west shores Sexual reproduction 



This work was funded by the Intra European Marie Curie Fellowship CRYSTAL (Cryptic ostracod species in an Ancient Lake: the Cytherissa flock from Baikal, contract: PIEF-GA-2009-253767) and a SYNTHESYS grant to VP. DS acknowledges the RBFBR grant 15-04-03848 for funding. We also acknowledge the ESF EUROCHORES programme Eurodiversity for funding the MOLARCH project (05_EDIV_FP237-MOLARCH), of which Erik Verheyen (Brussels, Belgium) was the coordinator. We thank Julian Cillis (Brussels, Belgium) for technical assistance with SEM images and Janet Higuchi (Maringa, Brazil) for assembling the figure with the SEM pictures. Zohra Elouaazizi is gratefully acknowledged for assistance with DNA sequencing. We also acknowledge our Russian colleagues, foremost M. Grachev and O. Timoshkin, for their support during sampling and the visits of KM and VP to Irkutsk. We also wish to thank the members of the molecular lab and of the Freshwater Biology team in Brussels for their help and assistance, especially Tasnim Patel and Marie Cours. We also thank two referees for their useful comments.

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Freshwater BiologyBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.University of Hasselt, Research Group ZoologyDiepenbeekBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, Life Science and Environmental SustainabilityUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  4. 4.Laboratory of Molecular SystematicsLimnological Institute of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of SciencesIrkutskRussia
  5. 5.Department of BiologyUniversity of GhentGhentBelgium

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