Taxonomic status of two South American sympatric squat lobsters, Munida gregaria and Munida subrugosa (Crustacea: Decapoda: Galatheidae), challenged by DNA sequence information

Perez-Barros P. ; D'Amato M.E. ; Guzman N.V. ; Lovrich G.A. (2008)


We investigated the taxonomic status of two sympatric morphospecies of squat lobsters from southern South America (Beagle Channel, Strait of Magellan, and Burdwood Bank), Munida gregaria and Munida subrugosa, by DNA sequence analysis of three mitochondrial (mt)DNA gene fragments [416 bp of 16S rDNA(165), 566 bp of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I(COI) and 418 bp of NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (ND1)]; and the nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) 1 (883-952 bp). We obtained a total of 79 sequences from 32 individuals. The 16S sequences of all M. gregaria and M. subrugosa were invariant and identical, whereas COI and ND1 showed 12 and 15 variable sites, respectively. These polymorphisms were shared between morphospecies. Interspecific Tamura-Nei distances for COI and ND1 sequences were 0.0024 and 0.0032, respectively, and were not significantly different from intraspecific distances (Kruskal-Wallis tests: P = 0.58 and P = 0.69, for COI and ND1, respectively). Similar to the results obtained from the mtDNA sequences, no relationship was found between the ITS1 maximum parsimony tree topology and the morphologic classification of specimens in M. gregaria and M. subrugosa. We conclude that M. gregaria and M. subrugosa from southern South America may either represent a case of a dimorphic species, or a case of incomplete lineage sorting. The fact that these two morphospecies did not show fixed differences over a total of 1947 bp analysed reinforces the hypothesis of a single dimorphic species. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London.

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