Morphological and molecular evidence for first records and range extension of the Japanese seahorse, Hippocampus mohnikei (Bleeker 1853) in a bay-estuarine system of Goa, central west coast of India.
ABSTRACT: Accurate information of taxonomy and geographic range of seahorse species (genus Hippocampus) is the first step in preparing threat assessments and designing effective conservation measures. Here, we report first records and a range extension of the Japanese seahorse, Hippocampus mohnikei (Bleeker, 1853) from the Mandovi estuarine ecosystem of Goa, central west coast of India (CWCI) based on morphological and molecular analyses. The morphometric and meristic traits, particularly short snout (29-35% head length), double cheek spine, low coronet, long tail (51.2-57.9% of standard length), 11 trunk rings, 37-39 tail rings, 15-16 dorsal and 12-14 fin rays observed in four collected specimens matched with the reported key diagnostic morphological criteria of vouchered specimens of H. mohnikei. The seahorse mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) and cytochrome b (Cyt b) genes were partially sequenced for conclusive genetic identification of the species under study. Molecular analysis showed that all four individuals clustered together suggesting a monophyletic lineage. Using the maximum similarity with GenBank database, maximum likelihood network and subsequent morphological analysis, the identity of the collected seahorse species was reconfirmed as H. mohnikei. With this new report, the geographic range of H. mohnikei extended significantly to the west from its previously known range. This new sighting of H. mohnikei could indicate a long-distance dispersal facilitated by the prevailing oceanic circulation in the Indo-Pacific region or increased habitat suitability in bay-estuarine systems of Goa, CWCI. Comparison of the pair-wise genetic distances (Kimura 2-parameter) based on COI and Cyt b sequences revealed that the specimens examined in this study are genetically closer to H. mohnikei populations from Vietnam and Thailand than they are to those in Japan and China. To test the hypothesis whether H. mohnikei are vagrants or previously unreported established population, long-term inter-annual sampling and analyses are warranted.
Project description:The taxonomic status of the seahorse Hippocampusprocerus Kuiter, 2001, type locality Hervey Bay, QLD, Australia, was re-examined based on its strong morphological similarity and geographical proximity to its congener H.whitei Bleeker, 1855, a species recorded in ten estuaries of New South Wales, Australia. Kuiter (2001) distinguished H.procerus from H.whitei by a taller coronet, marginally lower meristics, and spinier physiognomy. Meristic, morphometric, and key diagnostic morphological character comparisons from vouchered specimens of the two purported species collected from Sydney Harbour, Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, NSW and Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, and Moreton Bay, QLD did not show diagnostic differences to support species-level classification of H.procerus. Furthermore, partial mitochondrial COI sequence data from specimens sampled from known geographical distributions in NSW and Southport, QLD failed to discriminate between populations as a result of shared haplotypes, and revealed an average intraspecific divergence of 0.002%. Hippocampusprocerus is hereby placed in the synonymy of H.whitei; a redescription is provided, with a revised record of its range across eastern Australia.
Project description:Phormia regina (the black fly) is a common Holarctic blow fly species which serves as a primary indicator taxon to estimate minimal post mortem intervals. It is also a major research model in physiological and neurological studies on insect feeding. Previous studies have shown a sequence divergence of up to 4.3% in the mitochondrial COI gene between W European and N American P. regina populations. Here, we DNA barcoded P. regina specimens from six N American and 17 W European populations and confirmed a mean sequence divergence of ca. 4% between the populations of the two continents, while sequence divergence within each continent was a ten-fold lower. Comparable mean mtDNA sequence divergences were observed for COII (3.7%) and cyt b (5.3%), but mean divergence was lower for 16S (0.4-0.6%). Intercontinental divergence at nuclear DNA was very low (≤ 0.1% for both 28S and ITS2), and we did not detect any morphological differentiation between N American and W European specimens. Therefore, we consider the strong differentiation at COI, COII and cyt b as intraspecific mtDNA sequence divergence that should be taken into account when using P. regina in forensic casework or experimental research.
Project description:A new species and the first confirmed record of a true pygmy seahorse from Africa, Hippocampus nalu sp. nov., is herein described on the basis of two specimens, 18.9-22 mm SL, collected from flat sandy coral reef at 14-17 meters depth from Sodwana Bay, South Africa. The new taxon shares morphological synapomorphies with the previously described central Indo-Pacific pygmy seahorses, H. colemani, H. japapigu, H. pontohi, and H. satomiae, and H. waleananus, including diminutive size, twelve trunk rings, prominent cleithral ring and supracleithrum, spines on the fifth and twelfth superior and lateral trunk ridges, respectively, and prominent wing-like protrusions present on the first and/or second superior trunk rings posterior to the head. Hippocampus nalu sp. nov. is primarily distinguished from its pygmy seahorse congeners by highly distinct spine morphology along the anterior segments of the superior trunk ridge. Comparative molecular analysis reveals that the new species demonstrates significant genetic divergence in the mitochondrial COI gene from the morphologically similar H. japapigu and H. pontohi (estimated uncorrected p-distances of 16.3% and 15.2%, respectively). Hippocampus nalu sp. nov. represents the eighth member of the pygmy seahorse clade to be described from the Indo-Pacific, the first confirmed record from the African continent and the Indian Ocean, and an extension of more than 8000 km beyond the previously known range of pygmy seahorses from the Central and Western Indo-Pacific.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Here we report the first insight into the mitochondrial (Cytochrome c Oxidase subunit I - COI and Cytochrome b - Cyt b) genetic variation of the only Mediterranean cephalocarid Lightiella magdalenina. FINDINGS:COI sequences provide a scenario of low intraspecific variability, while significant genetic divergence occurs between L. magdalenina and L. incisa. Interestingly, Cyt b sequences reveal a higher degree of intraspecific variability, with no shared haplotypes between the sites considered. CONCLUSIONS:In the future, COI and Cyt b molecular markers could be used as valuable tools to shed new light into the extant species within the genus Lightiella thus providing molecular support to the taxonomical identifications carried out on a morphological basis.
Project description:The phylogeny and taxonomy of mammalian species were originally based upon shared or derived morphological characteristics. However, genetic analyses have more recently played an increasingly important role in confirming existing or establishing often radically different mammalian groupings and phylogenies. The two most commonly used genetic loci in species identification are the cytochrome oxidase I gene (COI) and the cytochrome b gene (cyt b). For the first time this study provides a detailed comparison of the effectiveness of these two loci in reconstructing the phylogeny of mammals at different levels of the taxonomic hierarchy in order to provide a basis for standardizing methodologies in the future. Interspecific and intraspecific variation is assessed and for the first time, to our knowledge, statistical confidence is applied to sequence comparisons. Comparison of the DNA sequences of 217 mammalian species reveals that cyt b more accurately reconstructs their phylogeny and known relationships between species based on other molecular and morphological analyses at Super Order, Order, Family and generic levels. Cyt b correctly assigned 95.85% of mammal species to Super Order, 94.31% to Order and 98.16% to Family compared to 78.34%, 93.36% and 96.93% respectively for COI. Cyt b also gives better resolution when separating species based on sequence data. Using a Kimura 2-parameter p-distance (x100) threshold of 1.5-2.5, cyt b gives a better resolution for separating species with a lower false positive rate and higher positive predictive value than those of COI.
Project description:Based on molecular data for mitochondrial (Cyt b, COI) and nuclear (IRBP, GHR) genes, and morphological examinations of museum specimens, we examined diversity, species boundaries, and relationships within and between the murine genera Chiromyscus and Niviventer. Phylogenetic patterns recovered demonstrate that Niviventer sensu lato is not monophyletic but instead includes Chiromyscuschiropus, the only previously recognized species of Chiropus. To maintain the genera Niviventer and Chiropus as monophyletic lineages, the scope and definition of the genus Chiromyscus is revised to include at least three distinct species: Chiromyscuschiropus (the type species of Chiromyscus), Chiromyscuslangbianis (previously regarded as a species of Niviventer), and a new species, described in this paper under the name Chiromyscusthomasi sp. n.
Project description:Morphology-based profiling of benthic communities has been extensively applied to aquatic ecosystems' health assessment. However, it remains a low-throughput, and sometimes ambiguous, procedure. Despite DNA metabarcoding has been applied to marine benthos, a comprehensive approach providing species-level identifications for estuarine macrobenthos is still lacking. Here we report a combination of experimental and field studies to assess the aptitude of COI metabarcoding to provide robust species-level identifications for high-throughput monitoring of estuarine macrobenthos. To investigate the ability of metabarcoding to detect all species present in bulk DNA extracts, we contrived three phylogenetically diverse communities, and applied four different primer pairs to generate PCR products within the COI barcode region. Between 78-83% of the species in the contrived communities were recovered through HTS. Subsequently, we compared morphology and metabarcoding-based approaches to determine the species composition from four distinct estuarine sites. Our results indicate that species richness would be considerably underestimated if only morphological methods were used: globally 27 species identified through morphology versus 61 detected by metabarcoding. Although further refinement is required to improve efficiency and output of this approach, here we show the great aptitude of COI metabarcoding to provide high quality and auditable species identifications in estuarine macrobenthos monitoring.
Project description:We re-describe and confirm the validity of Ophiothrix trindadensis Tommasi, 1970 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). This is a native species from Brazil, however it lacked a type series deposited in scientific collections. The recognition of O. trindadensis was made possible using integrative taxonomy applied to many specimens from the type locality (Trindade Island) as well as from different locations along the Brazilian coast (Araçá Bay and Estuarine Complex of Paranaguá). Initially, 835 specimens were studied and divided into four candidate species (CS) inferred from external morphological characters. Afterwards, the CSs were compared using integrative taxonomy based on external morphology, arm microstructures morphology (arm ossicle), morphometry, and molecular studies (fragments of the mitochondrial genes 16S and COI). Analyses indicated CS1 and CS2 as O. trindadensis, and CS3 as O. angulata, both valid species. CS4 remains O. cf. angulata as more data, including their ecology and physiology, are needed to be definitively clarified. Our integrative investigation using specimens from the type locality overcame the lack of type specimens and increased the reliable identification of O. trindadensis and O. angulata.
Project description:The pygmy seahorse Hippocampusjapapigusp. n. is described based on three specimens, 13.9-16.3 mm SL, collected from a mixed soft coral and algae reef at 11 m depth at Hachijo-jima Island, Izu Islands, Japan. The new taxon shares morphological synapomorphies with the previously described central Indo-Pacific pygmy seahorses, H.colemani, H.pontohi, H.satomiae, and H.waleananus, including extremely small size, 12 trunk rings, strongly raised continuous cleithral ring, snout spine, large spine on the eighth lateral and fifth and 12 superior trunk ridges, respectively, and unusual wing-like-protrusions immediately posterior to the head. Hippocampusjapapigusp. n. can be distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of features in the anterodorsal area of the trunk: bilaterally paired wing-like protrusions formed by a single pair of large, truncate spines projecting dorsolaterad on the first superior trunk ridge, followed by a unique elevated dorsal ridge formed by triangular bony mounds dorsally on the second to fourth superior trunk ridges. In contrast, H.pontohi possesses a pair of large truncate spines projecting strongly laterad on both the first and second superior trunk ridges followed by flat surfaces dorsally on the third and fourth superior trunk rings. The new species can be further differentiated by genetic divergence from H.pontohi (an uncorrected p-distance of 10.1% in the mitochondrial COI gene) and a striking reticulated white and brown lattice pattern on the head, trunk, and tail. Hippocampusjapapigusp. n. represents the fifth species of pygmy seahorse recorded in Japan.
Project description:Aquatic oligochaetes are well recognized bioindicators of quality of sediments and water in watercourses and lakes. However, the difficult taxonomic determination based on morphological features compromises their more common use in eco-diagnostic analyses. To overcome this limitation, we investigated molecular barcodes as identification tool for broad range of taxa of aquatic oligochaetes. We report 185 COI and 52 ITS2 rDNA sequences for specimens collected in Switzerland and belonging to the families Naididae, Lumbriculidae, Enchytraeidae and Lumbricidae. Phylogenetic analyses allowed distinguishing 41 lineages separated by more than 10 % divergence in COI sequences. The lineage distinction was confirmed by Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD) method and by ITS2 data. Our results showed that morphological identification underestimates the oligochaete diversity. Only 26 of the lineages could be assigned to morphospecies, of which seven were sequenced for the first time. Several cryptic species were detected within common morphospecies. Many juvenile specimens that could not be assigned morphologically have found their home after genetic analysis. Our study showed that COI barcodes performed very well as species identifiers in aquatic oligochaetes. Their easy amplification and good taxonomic resolution might help promoting aquatic oligochaetes as bioindicators for next generation environmental DNA biomonitoring of aquatic ecosystems.