The Pleurobemini (Bivalvia: Unionida) revisited: Molecular species delineation using a mitochondrial DNA gene reveals multiple conspecifics and undescribed species

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Abstract

The Pleurobemini (Bivalvia: Unionida) represent approximately one-third of freshwater mussel diversity in North America. Species identification within this group is challenging due to morphological convergence and phenotypic plasticity. Accurate species identification, including characterisation of currently unrecognised taxa, is required to develop effective conservation strategies because many species in the group are imperiled. We examined 575 cox1 sequences from 110 currently recognised species (including 13 Fusconaia and 21 Pleurobema species) to understand phylogenetic relationships among pleurobemine species (mainly Fusconaia and Pleurobema) and to delineate species boundaries. The results of phylogenetic analyses showed no geographic structure within widespread species and illustrated a close relationship between Elliptio lanceolata and Parvaspina collina. Constraint tests supported monophyly of the genera Fusconaia and Pleurobema, including the subgenus P. (Sintoxia). Furthermore, results revealed multiple conspecifics, including P. hanleyianum and P. troschelianum, P. chattanoogaense and P. decisum, P. clava and P. oviforme, P. rubrum and P. sintoxia, F. askewi and F. lananensis, and F. cerina and F. flava. Species delimitation analyses identified three currently unrecognised taxa (two in Fusconaia and one in Pleurobema). Further investigation using additional genetic markers and other lines of evidence (e.g. morphology, life history, ecology) are necessary before any taxonomic changes are formalised.

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Inoue, K., Hayes, D. M., Harris, J. L., Johnson, N. A., Morrison, C. L., Eackles, M. S., … Randklev, C. R. (2018). The Pleurobemini (Bivalvia: Unionida) revisited: Molecular species delineation using a mitochondrial DNA gene reveals multiple conspecifics and undescribed species. Invertebrate Systematics, 32(3), 689–702. https://doi.org/10.1071/IS17059

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