Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 151–162 | Cite as

Evidence from morphological and genetic data confirms that Colossendeis tenera Hilton, 1943 (Arthropoda: Pycnogonida), does not belong to the Colossendeis megalonyx Hoek, 1881 complex

  • Lars Dietz
  • Franz Krapp
  • Michel E. Hendrickx
  • Claudia P. Arango
  • Kathrin Krabbe
  • Johanna M. Spaak
  • Florian LeeseEmail author
Original Article


Within the Pycnogonida, genetic studies have revealed that Colossendeis megalonyx Hoek (Challenger Report, Zoology, 3(X), 1–167, 1881), consists of a complex of several cryptic or overlooked species. Colossendeis megalonyx is a typical Southern Hemisphere species complex distributed primarily on the continental shelves in the Antarctic and Subantarctic. However, a different Colossendeis species with a completely different geographic distribution range, Colossendeis tenera Hilton (Journal of Entomology and Zoology, Pomona College, Claremont, 35(1), 2–4, 1943), was considered a subspecies of Colossendeis megalonyx by Turpaeva (Trudy Instituta Okeanology "P. P. Shirshova", Akademy Nauk SSSR, 103, 230–246, 1975). Colossendeis tenera occurs predominantly along the Pacific Coast of North America from the Bering Sea to central California. Prominent differences between these two currently distinct species are found in body proportions and other characters that were interpreted by Turpaeva as a possible case of pedomorphosis induced by deep-sea conditions. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that Colossendeis tenera belongs to the Colossendeis megalonyx complex by analyzing available and novel sequence data (CO1 and H3) of both Colossendeis megalonyx and Colossendeis tenera as well as a similar, apparently closely related species, Colossendeis angusta Sars (Archiv for Mathematik og Naturvidenskab, 2, 237–271, 1877). We compared morphometric data and SEM of the ovigera of these species. Our results clearly indicate that Colossendeis tenera and Colossendeis angusta are not a part of the Colossendeis megalonyx complex. A sister-group relationship of Colossendeis tenera and Colossendeis angusta is strongly supported, but Colossendeis tenera is not clearly resolved as monophyletic with respect to Colossendeis angusta. This work highlights the need for further examination of the variation found in the tenera-angusta clade. It also gives a first hint of the phylogenetic affinities of species within Colossendeis.


Pycnogonida Colossendeidae Colossendeis tenera Colossendeis megalonyx Colossendeis angusta Ovigera Integrative taxonomy Biogeography 



We would like to thank Anja Friederichs (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin) for taking additional photographs of the Mexican C. tenera specimen, Hieronymus Dastych (Zoologisches Museum Universität Hamburg) for providing the samples of C. angusta, Anna Soler i Membrives for information on the C. angusta sequence data in GenBank, Saskia Brix and the organizers of the ICEAGE cruise for C. angusta, and Meike Seefeldt for the SEM photographs of C. angusta. We also thank Yoshie Takahashi for information on Colossendeis species from Japan. Furthermore, we would like to thank Christoph Held, Christoph Mayer, Markus Gronwald, and Ralph Tollrian for support and helpful discussions, and three anonymous reviewers for comments that were a great help in improving the manuscript. This work was funded by DFG grant LE 2323/2 to FL within the priority programme, SPP 1158.

Ethical standards

The experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13127_2012_120_MOESM1_ESM.doc (96 kb)
Online Resource 1 Sequence data used (DOC 96 kb)
13127_2012_120_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (31 kb)
Online Resource 2 Concatenated ML tree of 16S, 12S, CO1, and H3. Within the Colossendeis megalonyx clade several species with an “*” are those that were downloaded from GenBank. (PDF 30 kb)
13127_2012_120_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (314 kb)
Online Resource 3 (a) Information on the eigenvalues of the ten calculated factors and the total variance. (b) Factor loadings indicating correlations with the different variables. Factors 1 and 2 were visualized in the PCA. (PDF 314 kb)
13127_2012_120_MOESM4_ESM.doc (181 kb)
Online Resource 4 Morphological measurements for all individuals of C. tenera, C. angusta, and C. megalonyx specimens, including both our own measurements and those from the literature (lengths relative to trunk are shown if not listed otherwise). (DOC 181 kb)


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Dietz
    • 1
  • Franz Krapp
    • 2
  • Michel E. Hendrickx
    • 3
  • Claudia P. Arango
    • 4
  • Kathrin Krabbe
    • 1
    • 5
  • Johanna M. Spaak
    • 1
  • Florian Leese
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Animal Ecology, Evolution and BiodiversityRuhr University BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander KoenigBonnGermany
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Invertebrados BentónicosUnidad Académica Mazatlan, ICML, UNAMMazatlanMexico
  4. 4.Natural Environments ProgramQueensland MuseumSouth BrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Labor für AbstammungsbegutachtungenRheinbachGermany

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