Re-evaluation of the Doriopsilla areolata Bergh, 1880 (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) subspecies complex in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and its relationship to South African Doriopsilla miniata (Alder & Hancock, 1864) based on molecular data
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Doriopsilla areolata is a nudibranch sea slug with a broad geographic range, spanning from mainland Spain (southwestern Europe) to Angola (southwestern Africa) in the eastern Atlantic, and is also found in the Caribbean. This species was divided into three subspecies: D. areolata areolata (Europe to Cape Verde), D. areolata albolineata (Ghana to Angola), and D. areolata nigrolineata (Caribbean), each with a discrete range. This paper uses phylogenetic and population genetics tools to determine whether the subspecies scheme is supported by molecular data. Additionally, specimens of Doriopsilla miniata from South Africa, a species that is hypothetically closely related to D. areolata, is also included in the analysis, primarily because of the morphological similarities between D. areolata and D. miniata. Results from AMOVA, Bayesian, and pairwise analyses revealed that the molecular data do not support the proposed subspecies scheme and suggest that South African populations identified as D. miniata belong to D. areolata.