Species delimitation and phylogeography of Aphonopelma hentzi (Araneae, Mygalomorphae, Theraphosidae): cryptic diversity in North American tarantulas.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The primary objective of this study is to reconstruct the phylogeny of the hentzi species group and sister species in the North American tarantula genus, Aphonopelma, using a set of mitochondrial DNA markers that include the animal "barcoding gene". An mtDNA genealogy is used to consider questions regarding species boundary delimitation and to evaluate timing of divergence to infer historical biogeographic events that played a role in shaping the present-day diversity and distribution. We aimed to identify potential refugial locations, directionality of range expansion, and test whether A. hentzi post-glacial expansion fit a predicted time frame. METHODS AND FINDINGS:A Bayesian phylogenetic approach was used to analyze a 2051 base pair (bp) mtDNA data matrix comprising aligned fragments of the gene regions CO1 (1165 bp) and ND1-16S (886 bp). Multiple species delimitation techniques (DNA tree-based methods, a "barcode gap" using percent of pairwise sequence divergence (uncorrected p-distances), and the GMYC method) consistently recognized a number of divergent and genealogically exclusive groups. CONCLUSIONS:The use of numerous species delimitation methods, in concert, provide an effective approach to dissecting species boundaries in this spider group; as well they seem to provide strong evidence for a number of nominal, previously undiscovered, and cryptic species. Our data also indicate that Pleistocene habitat fragmentation and subsequent range expansion events may have shaped contemporary phylogeographic patterns of Aphonopelma diversity in the southwestern United States, particularly for the A. hentzi species group. These findings indicate that future species delimitation approaches need to be analyzed in context of a number of factors, such as the sampling distribution, loci used, biogeographic history, breadth of morphological variation, ecological factors, and behavioral data, to make truly integrative decisions about what constitutes an evolutionary lineage recognized as a "species".
Project description:This systematic study documents the taxonomy, diversity, and distribution of the tarantula spider genus Aphonopelma Pocock, 1901 within the United States. By employing phylogenomic, morphological, and geospatial data, we evaluated all 55 nominal species in the United States to examine the evolutionary history of Aphonopelma and the group's taxonomy by implementing an integrative approach to species delimitation. Based on our analyses, we now recognize only 29 distinct species in the United States. We propose 33 new synonymies (Aphonopelma apacheum, Aphonopelma minchi, Aphonopelma rothi, Aphonopelma schmidti, Aphonopelma stahnkei = Aphonopelma chalcodes; Aphonopelma arnoldi = Aphonopelma armada; Aphonopelma behlei, Aphonopelma vogelae = Aphonopelma marxi; Aphonopelma breenei = Aphonopelma anax; Aphonopelma chambersi, Aphonopelma clarum, Aphonopelma cryptethum, Aphonopelma sandersoni, Aphonopelma sullivani = Aphonopelma eutylenum; Aphonopelma clarki, Aphonopelma coloradanum, Aphonopelma echinum, Aphonopelma gurleyi, Aphonopelma harlingenum, Aphonopelma odelli, Aphonopelma waconum, Aphonopelma wichitanum = Aphonopelma hentzi; Aphonopelma heterops = Aphonopelma moderatum; Aphonopelma jungi, Aphonopelma punzoi = Aphonopelma vorhiesi; Aphonopelma brunnius, Aphonopelma chamberlini, Aphonopelma iviei, Aphonopelma lithodomum, Aphonopelma smithi, Aphonopelma zionis = Aphonopelma iodius; Aphonopelma phanum, Aphonopelma reversum = Aphonopelma steindachneri), 14 new species (Aphonopelma atomicum sp. n., Aphonopelma catalina sp. n., Aphonopelma chiricahua sp. n., Aphonopelma icenoglei sp. n., Aphonopelma johnnycashi sp. n., Aphonopelma madera sp. n., Aphonopelma mareki sp. n., Aphonopelma moellendorfi sp. n., Aphonopelma parvum sp. n., Aphonopelma peloncillo sp. n., Aphonopelma prenticei sp. n., Aphonopelma saguaro sp. n., Aphonopelma superstitionense sp. n., and Aphonopelma xwalxwal sp. n.), and seven nomina dubia (Aphonopelma baergi, Aphonopelma cratium, Aphonopelma hollyi, Aphonopelma mordax, Aphonopelma radinum, Aphonopelma rusticum, Aphonopelma texense). Our proposed species tree based on Anchored Enrichment data delimits five major lineages: a monotypic group confined to California, a western group, an eastern group, a group primarily distributed in high-elevation areas, and a group that comprises several miniaturized species. Multiple species are distributed throughout two biodiversity hotspots in the United States (i.e., California Floristic Province and Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands). Keys are provided for identification of both males and females. By conducting the most comprehensive sampling of a single theraphosid genus to date, this research significantly broadens the scope of prior molecular and morphological investigations, finally bringing a modern understanding of species delimitation in this dynamic and charismatic group of spiders.
Project description:Ancient DNA analyses have provided enhanced resolution of population histories in many Pleistocene taxa. However, most studies are spatially restricted, making inference of species-level biogeographic histories difficult. Here, we analyse mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in the woolly mammoth from across its Holarctic range to reconstruct its history over the last 200 thousand years (kyr). We identify a previously undocumented major mtDNA lineage in Europe, which was replaced by another major mtDNA lineage 32-34 kyr before present (BP). Coalescent simulations provide support for demographic expansions at approximately 121 kyr BP, suggesting that the previous interglacial was an important driver for demography and intraspecific genetic divergence. Furthermore, our results suggest an expansion into Eurasia from America around 66 kyr BP, coinciding with the first exposure of the Bering Land Bridge during the Late Pleistocene. Bayesian inference indicates Late Pleistocene demographic stability until 20-15 kyr BP, when a severe population size decline occurred.
Project description:To comprehend the phylogeographic patterns of genetic variation in anurans at Taiwan Island, this study attempted to examine (1) the existence of various geological barriers (Central Mountain Ranges, CMRs); and (2) the genetic variation of Bufo bankorensis using mtDNA sequences among populations located in different regions of Taiwan, characterized by different climates and existing under extreme conditions when compared available sequences of related species B. gargarizans of mainland China.Phylogenetic analyses of the dataset with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) D-loop gene (348 bp) recovered a close relationship between B. bankorensis and B. gargarizans, identified three distinct lineages. Furthermore, the network of mtDNA D-loop gene (564 bp) amplified (279 individuals, 27 localities) from Taiwan Island indicated three divergent clades within B. bankorensis (Clade W, E and S), corresponding to the geography, thereby verifying the importance of the CMRs and Kaoping River drainage as major biogeographic barriers. Mismatch distribution analysis, neutrality tests and Bayesian skyline plots revealed that a significant population expansion occurred for the total population and Clade W, with horizons dated to approximately 0.08 and 0.07 Mya, respectively. These results suggest that the population expansion of Taiwan Island species B. bankorensis might have resulted from the release of available habitat in post-glacial periods, the genetic variation on mtDNA showing habitat selection, subsequent population dispersal, and co-distribution among clades.The multiple origins (different clades) of B. bankorensis mtDNA sequences were first evident in this study. The divergent genetic clades found within B. bankorensis could be independent colonization by previously diverged lineages; inferring B. bankorensis originated from B. gargarizans of mainland China, then dispersal followed by isolation within Taiwan Island. Highly divergent clades between W and E of B. bankorensis, implies that the CMRs serve as a genetic barrier and separated the whole island into the western and eastern phylogroups.
Project description:Background:CITES is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Regarding spiders, all species listed in CITES are tarantulas. They are included in Appendix II, meaning that they are species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that they may become so unless trade is closely controlled.Many tarantulas are legally and illegally traded in the pet market and they are one of the most traded invertebrate groups. Originally, the CITES list published in 1995 included all the current species of the genus Brachypelma Simon, 1891 plus Aphonopelma pallidum (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) and the so-called Aphonopelma albiceps (Pocock, 1903). After that, some taxonomic changes were done, as well as descriptions of new species in the genus Brachypelma. The objective of this paper is to assess the 21 taxonomically valid spider species listed on CITES according to the IUCN criteria, study the general patterns and trends and advise on possible future conservation actions critical for the survival of endangered species. New information:Amongst all 21 species assessed, 16 had sufficient data on their distribution, ecology and threats to properly understand their current status and suggest possible conservation measures. A decline in the area of occupancy (AOO) and extent of occurrence (EOO) was inferred to almost all species, caused mostly by human activities (urbanisation, roads, agricultural and touristic activities), which often lead to the complete loss of subpopulations across their range. Hurricanes and frequent rising water, which are increasing in frequency due to climate change, can cause decline in habitat quality and consequent change in EOO and AOO of some species and should also be considered when planning conservation actions. Severe fragmentation was detected in 13 species and is therefore one of the most relevant threats to the most endangered Brachypelma species and should be made a priority aspect to deal with when proposing conservation actions for the group. Regarding the loss of individuals in wild populations, the main cause seems to be the overharvesting to meet the illegal trade.The most important conservation actions identified across species include preserving their natural habitat through protected areas, establishing management plans for both the species and their habitats and undertaking systematic monitoring to provide information about population recovery and species re-introduction programmes. In general, we propose to prioritise and support research on the population trends and distribution, as well as on the impact of land use and habitat degradation. Special attention regarding conservation actions and research plans has to be given to the central Pacific coastal area of Mexico, particularly around Guerrero State where five species of Brachypelma occur. Critically, for some of the most endangered species, such as B. baumgarteni and B. hamorii, there is no official protected area in their range of occurrence. It would therefore be highly recommended to establish at least one conservation unit which focuses on protecting each of these species in situ. In some cases, basic taxonomic research is needed before development of any appropriate conservation action can be proposed.
Project description:The silver butter catfish (Schilbe intermedius) is widely distributed across African river systems. To date, information on its mitochondrial genetic diversity, population structure, and historical demography are not well-established. Herein, we combined newly generated mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase (COI) subunit I gene sequences with previously published COI sequences in the global databases to reconstruct its phylogeography, population genetic structure, and historical demography. Results from the mtDNA phylogeography and species delimitation tests (Cluster algorithm - Species Identifier, Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery and Poison Tree Process model) revealed that S. intermedius comprises at least seven geographically defined matrilines. Although the overall haplotype diversity of S. intermedius was high (h = 0.90), results showed that East (Kenya) and West (Nigeria) African populations had low levels of haplotype diversity (h = ~0.40). In addition, population genetic polymorphism and historical demographics showed that S. intermedius populations in both East and West Africa underwent severe contractions as a result of biogeographic influences. The patterns of genetic diversity and population structure were consistent with adaptive responses to historical biogeographic factors and contemporary environmental variations across African river systems. This is suggestive of the influence of historical biogeographic factors and climatic conditions on population divergence of S. intermedius across African river systems. Given our discovery of previously underappreciated diversity within S. intermedius, we recommend that this species be considered for increased conservation and management.
Project description:Conservation efforts must be evidence-based, so rapid and economically feasible methods should be used to quantify diversity and distribution patterns. We have attempted to overcome current impediments to the gathering of biodiversity data by using integrative phylogenomic and three mtDNA fragment analyses. As a model, we sequenced the Metriorrhynchini beetle fauna, sampled from ~700 localities in three continents. The species-rich dataset included ~6500 terminals, ~ 1850 putative species delimited at 5% uncorrected pairwise threshold, possibly ~1000 of them unknown to science. Neither type of data could alone answer our questions on biodiversity and phylogeny. The phylogenomic backbone enabled the integrative delimitation of robustly defined natural genus-group units that will inform future research. Using constrained mtDNA analysis, we identified the spatial structure of species diversity, very high species-level endemism, and a biodiversity hotspot in New Guinea. We suggest that focused field research and subsequent laboratory and bioinformatic workflow steps would substantially accelerate the inventorying of any hyperdiverse tropical group with several thousand species. The outcome would be a scaffold for the incorporation of further data from environmental sequencing and ecological studies. The database of sequences could set a benchmark for the spatiotemporal evaluation of biodiversity, would support evidence-based conservation planning, and would provide a robust framework for systematic, biogeographic, and evolutionary studies.
Project description:Three new species of the monotypic genus Melloleitaoina Gerschman & Schiapelli, 1960 are described from northern Argentina: M. mutquina sp. n., M. uru sp. n. and M. yupanqui sp. n. The female specimen originally described as M. crassifemur is not conspecific with the male holotype and thus is removed from this species and described as M. uru sp. n.; M. crassifemur is redescribed. All species are diagnosed, illustrated and a key to species is provided.
Project description:Crenicichla is the largest and most widely distributed genus of Neotropical cichlids. Here, we analyze a mtDNA dataset comprising 681 specimens (including Teleocichla, a putative ingroup of Crenicichla) and 77 out of 105 presently recognized valid species (plus 10 out of 36 nominal synonyms plus over 50 putatively new species) from 129 locations in 31 major river drainages throughout the whole distribution of the genus in South America. Based on these data we make an inventory of diversity and highlight taxa and biogeographic areas worthy of further sampling effort and conservation protection. Using three methods of molecular species delimitation, we find between 126 and 168 species-like clusters, i.e., an average increase of species diversity of 65–121% with a range of increase between species groups. The increase ranges from 0% in the Missioneira and Macrophthama groups, through 25–40% (Lacustris group), 50–87% (Reticulata group, Teleocichla), 68–168% (Saxatilis group), 125–200% (Wallacii group), and 158–241% in the Lugubris group. We found a high degree of congruence between clusters derived from the three used methods of species delimitation. Overall, our results recognize substantially underestimated diversity in Crenicichla including Teleocichla. Most of the newly delimited putative species are from the Amazon-Orinoco-Guiana (AOG) core area (Greater Amazonia) of the Neotropical region, especially from the Brazilian and Guiana shield areas of which the former is under the largest threat and largest degree of environmental degradation of all the Amazon.
Project description:Lineage separation and divergence form a temporally extended process whereby populations may diverge genetically, morphologically, or ecologically, and these contingent properties of species provide the operational criteria necessary for species delimitation. We inferred the historical process of lineage formation in the coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum) species complex by evaluating a diversity of operational species criteria, including divergence in mtDNA (98 specimens; 2,781 bp) and nuclear loci (RAG-1, 1,054 bp; BDNF 529 bp), ecological niches (11 bioclimatic variables; 285 unique localities), and cranial horn shapes (493 specimens; 16 landmarks). A phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA recovers 5 phylogeographic groups arranged latitudinally along the Baja California Peninsula and in California. The 2 southern phylogeographic groups exhibit concordance between genetic, morphological, and ecological divergence; however, differentiation is weak or absent at more recent levels defined by phylogeographic breaks in California. Interpreting these operational species criteria together suggests that there are 3 ecologically divergent and morphologically diagnosable species within the P. coronatum complex. Our 3-species taxonomic hypothesis invokes a deep coalescence event when fitting the mtDNA genealogy into the species tree, which is not unexpected for populations that have diverged recently. Although the hypothesis that the 3 phylogeographic groups distributed across California each represent distinctive species is not supported by all of the operational species criteria evaluated in this study, the conservation status of the imperiled populations represented by these genealogical units remains critical.
Project description:Pygmy perches (Percichthyidae) are a group of poorly dispersing freshwater fishes that have a puzzling biogeographic disjunction across southern Australia. Current understanding of pygmy perch phylogenetic relationships suggests past east-west migrations across a vast expanse of now arid habitat in central southern Australia, a region lacking contemporary rivers. Pygmy perches also represent a threatened group with confusing taxonomy and potentially cryptic species diversity. Here, we present the first study of the evolutionary history of pygmy perches based on genome-wide information. Data from 13 991 ddRAD loci and a concatenated sequence of 1 075 734 bp were generated for all currently described and potentially cryptic species. Phylogenetic relationships, biogeographic history and cryptic diversification were inferred using a framework that combines phylogenomics, species delimitation and estimation of divergence times. The genome-wide phylogeny clarified the biogeographic history of pygmy perches, demonstrating multiple east-west events of divergence within the group across the Australian continent. These results also resolved discordance between nuclear and mitochondrial data from a previous study. In addition, we propose three cryptic species within a southwestern species complex. The finding of potentially new species demonstrates that pygmy perches may be even more susceptible to ecological and demographic threats than previously thought. Our results have substantial implications for improving conservation legislation of pygmy perch lineages, especially in southwestern Western Australia.