, Volume 817, Issue 1, pp 97–110 | Cite as

mtDNA analysis of Mytilopsis (Bivalvia, Dreissenidae) invasion in Brazil reveals the existence of two species

  • Maurício R. Fernandes
  • Fabiano Salgueiro
  • Igor C. Miyahira
  • Carlos Henrique S. Caetano


The genus Mytilopsis includes some of the most invasive estuarine bivalves in the world, and M. leucophaeata (native to the Gulf of Mexico) and M. sallei (indigenous in the Caribbean Sea) are the most often reported species. Molecular investigations of the COI gene in invasive populations of M. leucophaeata in Europe found only one haplotype, whereas the invasive M. sallei in Asia had high haplotype diversity. The present study investigated COI variability of invasive populations previously identified as M. leucophaeata in Brazil, located at the cities of Recife and Rio de Janeiro. Our genetic analysis revealed that the record of M. leucophaeata from Recife appears erroneous; this population forms a clade adjacent to but genetically separated from the Asian M. cf. sallei. Similarly, samples from Rio de Janeiro clustered close to but not within European/North American sequences of M. leucophaeata. The Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery test suggested the existence of three species: M. leucophaeata, M. cf. sallei (Asia), and M. cf. sallei (Recife), which merit confirmation with nuclear DNA sequences. The discovery of two lineages of Mytilopsis in Brazil augments concerns about their expansion.


Mytilopsis leucophaeata Mytilopsis sallei Dark false mussel Exotic species Estuarine bivalves DNA barcoding 



We thank Dr. José de Souza (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife) for providing material from Recife. Dr. Luciano Santos (Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) invited the authors to participate in the present special issue and donated part of the material used for molecular analysis. Photographs of the type of Mytilopsis rossmaessleri and the loan of shells from Cubatão were provided by Dr. Christine Zorn (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin) and Dr. Zilda de Lucena (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre), respectively. Dr. John Slapcinsky and Dr. Amanda Bemis (Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville) lent material from Florida. Dr. Dan Marelli (Scientific Diving International, New York) provided information on several aspects of the taxonomy of Mytilopsis. Three anonymous reviewers significantly improved the original manuscript. Dr. Janet Reid (JWR Associates) revised the English language.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 21 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Federal do Estado do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Invertebrados, Museu Nacional do Rio de JaneiroUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade NeotropicalUniversidade Federal do Estado do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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