Genetic and morphological analyses uncover a new record and a cryptic species in Allonais (Clitellata: Naididae)


Allonais inaequalis (Stephenson, 1911) is a well-known “morpho-species” of the subfamily Naidinae with a wide distribution in the world. In this study we describe it, as a new record, from China, and we compare molecular data of A. inaequalis from two geographic populations in China and one in Peru, and we re-evaluate the phylogenetic status of Allonais. Sequence data of both mitochondrial (COI, 12S rDNA and 16S rDNA) and nuclear (18S rDNA and 28S rDNA) from 26 species of naidids (representing 14 of the 22 genera currently recognized) and 7 outgroup taxa were used. The combined data set were analyzed with Bayesian inference and Maximum Likelihood. The different phylogenetic analyses gave largely congruent trees, and they corroborate monophyly of Allonais. The results show that the genetic distances among the three geographic populations of A. inaequalis for COI are 0.0%-7.8% and for 28S vary between 0.0% and 0.8%. Allonais inaequalis falls into two groups, one from China, and one from Peru. We suggest that the Chinese morphotype more resembles A. inaequalis from India, where the species was first described, whereas the species in Peru is likely to be another species.

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We gratefully acknowledge Junyan Wu for collecting specimens, Shuran Wang for useful suggestions on writing and Meiqi Weng for advice regarding phylogenetic analyses. This study was supported by Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (Grant Nos. 2017ZX07302-002).


This study was supported by Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (Grant Nos. 2017ZX07302-002).

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yongde Cui.

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Jiang, W., Zhou, T., Wang, H. et al. Genetic and morphological analyses uncover a new record and a cryptic species in Allonais (Clitellata: Naididae). Biologia (2021).

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  • New records
  • Mitochondrial genes
  • Nuclear genes
  • Phylogeny
  • Taxonomy
  • Cryptic species