Marine Biology

, 164:28 | Cite as

A global invader or a complex of regionally distributed species? Clarifying the status of an invasive calcareous tubeworm Hydroides dianthus (Verrill, 1873) (Polychaeta: Serpulidae) using DNA barcoding

  • Yanan SunEmail author
  • Eunice Wong
  • Erica Keppel
  • Jane E. Williamson
  • Elena K. Kupriyanova
Invasive Species - Original paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Invasive Species


Clarifying taxonomic status is essential to understanding invasion source and the spread of invasive species. Here we used barcoding gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit I to explore the issue in a common fouling invasive species Hydroides dianthus. The species was originally described from off New England, USA, reported along the east coast of North America down to Florida and the Caribbean region, introduced to China, Europe, Japan and West Africa via anthropogenic transport and is now collected in Brazil for the first time. Unlike most congeners, H. dianthus has tolerance for a wide temperature range, being distributed from temperate to subtropical waters. Our results based on 112 specimens collected from 17 localities worldwide confirmed that H. dianthus sensu stricto is indeed a global invader. Observed higher haplotypes diversity in the Mediterranean seems to contradict the currently accepted native range of H. dianthus sensu stricto in the USA. The study also revealed the existence of a potential cryptic species H. cf. dianthus with a genetic distance of 5.6%. The cryptic lineage found in Texas was evidently introduced to the Black Sea only recently. Given that both lineages within H. dianthus are invasive, a greater emphasis on adequate monitoring and management of the routes responsible for introductions of this species is needed.


Polychaete Invasion History Cryptic Lineage Interspecific Distance Species Distribution Range 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study was funded by Australian Biological Resource Survey (ABRS) Grant RF213-19 to EKK. We thank the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University for an International Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarship (iMQRES) awarded to YS. We are grateful to João Miguel de Matos Nogueira, Orlemir Carrerette, Felipe Ramon De Chiara and Carlos Diego from the University of São Paulo who helped with our sampling in Brazil; and to Nicholas Patocka and Zhijun Dong who kindly share their observation on Hydroides dianthus communities in the field. We also thank Anja Schulze, Aylin Ulman, Eijiroh Nishi, Elena Lisitskaya, James Carlton, Joachim Langeneck, Melih Ertan Çinar and Xuwen Wu who collected samples around the world and generously donated them for this study.


This study was funded by Australian Biological Resource Survey (ABRS) Grant (Grant No. RF213-19).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanan Sun
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Eunice Wong
    • 1
  • Erica Keppel
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jane E. Williamson
    • 2
  • Elena K. Kupriyanova
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Australian Museum Research InstituteAustralian MuseumSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Marine Invasion Research LaboratorySmithsonian Environmental Research CenterEdgewaterUSA
  4. 4.Italian National Research Council (CNR)ISMAR Institute of Marine SciencesVeniceItaly

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