, Volume 801, Issue 1, pp 59–69 | Cite as

High intraspecific genetic divergence in the versatile fairy shrimp Branchinecta lindahli with a comment on cryptic species in the genus Branchinecta (Crustacea: Anostraca)

  • Andres AguilarEmail author
  • Alejandro M. Maeda-Martínez
  • Gopal Murugan
  • Hortencia Obregón-Barboza
  • D. Christopher Rogers
  • Kelly McClintock
  • Janice L. Krumm


Branchinecta lindahli is a generalist fairy shrimp that has a widespread distribution in North America. We initiated a study to better understand the geographic structure of genetic variation within this species and to test if cryptic species are present in B. lindahli. Additionally, we examined four other species of Branchinecta to test if there were any generalities in the levels of genetic divergence within and among species. Genetic data from the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene revealed two distinct clades within B. lindahli: one found in the Central Valley and Mojave Desert of California, USA and one found in Baja California, Mexico. The remaining haplotypes were widespread throughout the remainder of North America. Further examination of the distribution within clades revealed no additional phylogeographic structure. The amount of intraspecific divergence observed for B. lindahli and B. hiberna was high compared to B. mackini and B. sandiegonensis. However, maximal intraspecific divergences were less than what was observed among Branchinecta species. We argue that the amount of intraspecific divergence observed in B. lindahli is not consistent with the presence of cryptic species and that caution should be taken when attempting to delimit cryptic species within this group.


Branchinectidae Cytochrome oxidase I North America Phylogeography 



We thank Mr. Humberto García-Velazco and Mr. José Ángel Camacho for helping during field collection in Baja California, Mexico. Mr. J. Lopez and Mr. J. Ulloa assisted in the generation of genetic data. This study was supported by a grant from the UC MEXUS-CONACYT program to AA and AMMM (Project No. CN08). Collections made by AA and AMMM were done so under scientific collecting permits SCP-17338 (CDFW) and SGPA/DGVS/08331/10, respectively. We also thank Dr. M. Schwentner and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Natural Sciences and Sierra Nevada Research InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaMercedUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesCalifornia State University, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), Calle Instituto Politécnico Nacional 195La PazMexico
  4. 4.Kansas Biological SurveyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiologyWidener UniversityChesterUSA

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