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External diversity is restrained by internal conservatism: new nudibranch mollusc contributes to the cryptic species problem
Korshunova, T.; Martynov, A.; Bakken, T.; Picton, B. (2017). External diversity is restrained by internal conservatism: new nudibranch mollusc contributes to the cryptic species problem. Zoologica Scri. 46(6): 683-692. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/zsc.12253
In: Zoologica Scripta. Blackwell: Stockholm. ISSN 0300-3256, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    cryptic species;European seas;integrative taxonomy;invertebrates;molecular systematics;nudibranchs

Authors  Top 
  • Korshunova, T.
  • Martynov, A.
  • Bakken, T.
  • Picton, B., more

Abstract
    Cryptic species are an important concept of modern biodiversity studies and a potential basis for immensely increasing the amount of biological diversity worldwide; however, the conceptual grounds of cryptic species still need to be refined. Here, using a remarkable example from marine invertebrates, the case of a species complex of common large-sized nudibranchs of the genus Dendronotus in European waters is presented, which is relevant for the ongoing cryptic species discussion. Based on extensive sampling in the seas of Northern Hemisphere from United Kingdom to the Sea of Japan, a morphological and molecular framework is constructed for understanding the diversity of European Dendronotus nudibranchs. The present study discovered notable multilevel character diversity within the common Dendronotus “frondosus” species complex. This implies the highest degree of variation of external characters with parallel colour patterns among different species and significantly constrained conservatism of internal characters. The molecular data are congruent with the stable differences in the internal features and confirm the presence of three distinct species in this complex. While two species were already known, the third species is evidently new, based on morphological and molecular evidence and is described here as Dendronotus europaeus sp. n. In the light of multilevel character diversity, the general problem of plausibility of the distinction and practical usage of the terms “cryptic” and “pseudocryptic” species is discussed.

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