, Volume 844, Issue 1, pp 221–242 | Cite as

Reproductive isolation, morphological and ecological differentiation among cryptic species of Euchlanis dilatata, with the description of four new species

  • Azar Kordbacheh
  • Ashanti N. Shapiro
  • Elizabeth J. WalshEmail author


Morphological approaches may not provide sufficient resolution for species delineation. Thus, we used an integrated approach that included molecular and ecological characters as well as morphological features to gain a better estimate of species diversity and to improve our understanding of the speciation process within rotifers. Previously, seven putative cryptic species were found within Euchlanis dilatata complex based on a nuclear marker. Here, we investigated reproductive isolation, variation in trophi morphology, and life history characteristics among representatives of some of these species. Mating success between each cryptic species was 0–1.1%; lower than that of positive controls (intra-clonal: 15.6–43.9%). SEM trophi images representing individuals from all seven lineages were used for morphometric analyses. Using Discriminant Analysis, 64% of individuals were correctly assigned to cryptic species. Five clonal lineages, each representing a putative species, were used in life table experiments with varying temperature and conductivity. Age-specific fecundity increased under high temperature and life expectancy decreased under high temperature and high conductivity. There was variation among cryptic species in some life table characteristics, such as life expectancy and generation time. Applying an integrative taxonomy approach, we examined the boundaries between E. dilatata cryptic species and described four of them as new species.


Integrative taxonomy Life table experiments Speciation Trophi 



This research was supported by Grants from the National Science Foundation (DEB 0516032, 1257068), Grant 2G12MD007592 from the National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research (G2012162274) and UTEP’s Dodson Research Grant (2014, 2015). Howard Hughes Medical Institute SPN01136 (52008125) provided funding to AK during manuscript preparation. Special thanks to Marcela Rivero-Estens and Robert Walsmith for their help in conducting life table experiments. Carl S. Lieb, Robert L. Wallace, Kevin Floyd, and S. Nandini kindly provided rotifer samples. Soyoung Jeon, UTEP BBRC Statistical Consulting Laboratory provided assistance in statistical analyses of life table data. This manuscript benefited from comments provided by three reviewers, the editors, Hendrik Segers, Robert Wallace, Michael Moody and Arshad Khan. Rotifers were collected under permits to EJ Walsh unless otherwise noted. Permits: BIBE-2006-SCI-0003, BIBE-2013-SCI-0020, VIIS-2012-SCI-007, WHSA-2006-SCI-0004, TDPW 2013-01, TDPW 2014-01, OPRD-015-14, CPDCNBSP-2016-32 (P. Brown), and under a permit from the Secretario de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales #09436 (M. Silva Briano).

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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