High genetic diversity within Epimeria georgiana (Amphipoda) from the southern Scotia Arc
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DNA barcoding revealed four well-supported clades among amphipod specimens that keyed out to Epimeria georgiana Schellenberg, 1931, three clades with specimens from the southern Scotia Arc and one clade with specimens from the Weddell Sea. Detailed morphological investigations of sequenced specimens were conducted, through light and scanning electron microscopy. High magnification (500–2,000 fold) revealed features such as comb-scales on the first antenna and trich bearing pits on the fourth coxal plate to be similar for all specimens in the four clades. Consistent microstructure character differences in the Weddell Sea specimens combined with high genetic distances (COI divergence > 20%) allowed the description of Epimeria angelikae, a species new to science. Specimens of E. georgiana in the other three COI clades from the Scotia Arc were morphologically indistinguishable. Representative specimens of clade A are also illustrated in detail. Our results on the high genetic divergences in epimeriid amphipods support the theory of the southern Scotia Arc being a centre of Antarctic diversification.