Inferring Multiple Corsican Limax (Pulmonata: Limacidae) Radiations: A Combined Approach Using Morphology and Molecules

  • Barbara NitzEmail author
  • Gerhard Falkner
  • Gerhard Haszprunar


Slugs of the genus Limax (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora) show a highly complicated genital system and reproductive behaviour probably triggering radiation and speciation. Pre-studies have revealed two so far largely undescribed species groups of Limax in Corsica. In order to clear up the phylogeny and evolutionary history of these radiations, we used a combination of molecular techniques and morphological characters. The two independent species groups of Corsican Limax species are monophyletic, and consist of six to ten species each, most of them new to science. The first species group, the endemic Wolterstorffi-group, can be differentiated by COI-Sequences, whereas COI-sequences fail to discriminate species of the Corsicus-group, which also has representatives in the Apennine Peninsula. This pattern suggests a much younger radiation of the Corsicus-group. Two hitherto unrecognized species on the adjacent islands of Elba and Capraia are described in an appendix.


Limax Corsicus-group Wolterstorffi-group Corsica Elba Capraia Apennine Peninsula Endemism Radiations COI-Sequences Molecular systematics DNA barcoding New species 



This work was supported by the DFG (German Science Foundation) through the grant HA 2598/7 to G.H. within the Priority Programme “Radiations” (SPP 1127).

We have to thank a huge number of people (named in the material list) for kindly collecting or providing additional material for us. We are grateful to all collection managers and staff of various institutions for providing us with material and assistance. Dr. Isabel Hyman (Sydney, Australia) commented on the manuscript and gave us valuable input and hints for molecular work. We are extremely grateful to Dr. Markus Moser (Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie München) for very helpful contributions on the geohistory of Corsica and the adjacent areas. Margrit Falkner gave us continuous support and a generous donation, which finally allowed the addition of crucial sequences. These three sequences have been elaborated by the commercial enterprise kmbs München.

We are very grateful to Prof. Dr. Folco Giusti (Univ. Siena) for kindly providing material and valuable comments and advices on the taxonomy of Italian Limax.

We acknowledge Janine Serafini (Société des Sciences historiques et naturelles de la Corse), Bernard Recorbet (DIREN Corsica), the late Bernard Roché (DIREN Corsica), Achille Pioli (Corte, ONF), Lucien Borelli (Furiani Marinella), Jean-Claude Gabrielli (ONF), and Emilio Vichera (Golfe de Sperono) for very helpful and cordial support on site.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Nitz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gerhard Falkner
    • 3
    • 4
  • Gerhard Haszprunar
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologische Staatssammlung MünchenMünchenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of EpidemiologyHelmholtz Center München, German Research Center for Environmental HealthMünchen/NeuherbergGermany
  3. 3.Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  4. 4.Département Systématique et Evolution. UMS “Taxonomie et collections”Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle ParisParisFrance

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