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Complex taxonomy of the 'brush tail' peregrine earthworm Pontoscolex corethrurus

Abstract : Pontoscolex corethrurus is the most widespread earthworm species in tropical and sub-tropical zones and one of the most studied in soil science. Although, ecological interactions of P. corethrurus with its environment are well documented, the taxonomic status of the species remains unclear. In this study, we investigated phylogenetic relationships within the genus Pontoscolex, in particular focusing on morphologically indistinguishable (i.e., cryptic) lineages. A total of 792 specimens collected from 25 different countries and islands all over the world were analyzed using two mitochondrial (COI and 16S rDNA) and two nuclear (internal transcribed spacers 2 and 28S rDNA) markers, and a total of 11 morphological characters both internal and external were investigated in all genetically characterized lineages. A large-scale multilocus sequence data matrix was also obtained for Pontoscolex spp. specimens using the Anchored Hybrid Enrichment (AHE) method. Multilocus phylogenetic and phylogenomic analyses, combined with species delimitation methods; including single locus (mPTP, ABGD) and multilocus (BPP) approaches, revealed congruent results. Four cryptic species were supported within the P. corethrurus species complex, and four potentially new species within the genus Pontoscolex. One widespread lineage (L1), within P. corethrurus complex was observed in the current population of Fritz Muller's garden where P. corethrurus was first described in 1856. Cryptic lineages were observed in sympatry at several localities. This, in combination with observed heteroplasmy in COI gene in one population raises an important question of reproductive isolation between these species.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02621237
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 1:31:34 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 4:09:45 PM

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Shabnam Taheri, S. James, Virginie Roy, T. Decaëns, B. W. Williams, et al.. Complex taxonomy of the 'brush tail' peregrine earthworm Pontoscolex corethrurus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Elsevier, 2018, 124, pp.60-70. ⟨10.1016/j.ympev.2018.02.021⟩. ⟨hal-02621237⟩

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