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Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Pfenninger M.,Research Center Biodiversity and Climate | Vela E.,Institut Universitaire de France | Jesse R.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Elejalde M.A.,University of the Basque Country | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

The land snail genus Tudorella shows a peculiar disjunct distribution around the western Mediterranean coasts. Despite high phenotypic plasticity, only two species with a disputed number of subspecific taxa are currently recognised. We delimited the species with mitochondrial (COI & 16S) and nuclear (ITS-1) markers based on the unified species concept and suggested that there are eight species in the genus, two of them currently undescribed. Applying Bayesian phylogenetic model selection, we tested four different biogeographic hypotheses that could be causal for the current distribution pattern of extant Tudorella species. A scenario involving vicariance events resulting from the repeated splits of the Tyrrhenian plate with subsequent dispersal events over land bridges during the Pliocene received greatest support in the data. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Weigand A.M.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Jochum A.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Pfenninger M.,Research Center Biodiversity and Climate | Steinke D.,University of Guelph | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Ecology Resources | Year: 2011

The identification of microsnail taxa based on morphological characters is often a time-consuming and inconclusive process. Aspects such as morphological stasis and phenotypic plasticity further complicate their taxonomic designation. In this study, we demonstrate that the application of DNA barcoding can alleviate these problems within the Carychiidae (Gastropoda, Pulmonata). These microsnails are a taxon of the pulmonate lineage and most likely migrated onto land independently of the Stylommatophora clade. Their taxonomical classification is currently based on conchological and anatomical characters only. Despite much confusion about historic species assignments, the Carychiidae can be unambiguously subdivided into two taxa: (i) Zospeum species, which are restricted to karst caves, and (ii) Carychium species, which occur in a broad range of environmental conditions. The implementation of discrete molecular data (COI marker) enabled us to correctly designate 90% of the carychiid microsnails. The remaining cases were probably cryptic Zospeum and Carychium taxa and incipient species, which require further investigation into their species status. Because conventional reliance upon mostly continuous (i.e. nondiscrete) conchological characters is subject to fallibility for many gastropod species assignments, we highly recommend the use of DNA barcoding as a taxonomic, cutting-edge method for delimiting microsnail taxa. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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