Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 137–156 | Cite as

Molecular and morphological delimitation of Australian Triops species (Crustacea: Branchiopoda: Notostraca)—large diversity and little morphological differentiation

Original Article

Abstract

Australia has a very rich and diverse large branchiopod fauna with approximately 140 described or provisionally delimited species, but only one species of Triops, Triops australiensis (Spencer and Hall 1895), is currently recognized. Previous studies identified extensive genetic diversity within T. australiensis that suggested the presence of cryptic species. Herein, we employed an integrative approach to taxonomy to delimit putative species, integrating COI and EF1α sequence data and morphological data. Putative species were initially delimited based on COI by two computational approaches (GMYC and ABGD). The results were interpreted in the light of several species concepts, with particular emphasis on reproductive isolation. Twenty to 27 genetic lineages were delimited. Of these, up to 26 represent species following an evolutionary or phylogenetic species concept. Eighteen are biological species, though reproductive isolation could not be unambiguously established for allopatric species or species without known males. The level of co-occurrences was exceptionally high for Triops, with up to three syntopic and six sympatric species. Species delimitation was impeded by extensive overlap between intraspecific variability and interspecific variation in the genetic as well as morphological datasets. Without prior delimitation of putative species via COI, morphological delimitation would have been impossible. A potential explanation for the morphological variability is the retention of ancestral polymorphisms over long periods of time and across multiple speciation events without subsequent differentiation.

Keywords

Ancestral polymorphisms Intraspecific variability Interspecific variation Species concepts 

Supplementary material

13127_2016_306_MOESM1_ESM.docx (58 kb)
Supplement Table S1(DOCX 57 kb)
13127_2016_306_MOESM2_ESM.docx (40 kb)
Supplement Table S2(DOCX 39 kb)

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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Biowissenschaften, Allgemeine und Spezielle ZoologieUniversität RostockRostockGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Biologie, Vergleichende ZoologieHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Museum of Comparative Zoology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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